His academic interest in Basic Income has already taken Jurgen De Wispelaere to many places: From Belgium to Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Spain, Finland, Argentina and finally Chile. His research focuses on Basic Income experiments and how they have impacted policy. Now Prof. De Wispelaere will stay in Freiburg for three months to research, teach, write and share ideas with members of both FRIBIS and GWP.

Wissenschaftliche Veranstaltungen mit Jurgen De Wispelaere

Between 24 April and 10 May, Jurgen De Wispelaere will host a Public Lecture Series on “The State Of The Art In Basic Income Policy: A Public Lecture Series“, to which he has invited prominent participants. In the summer semester, Prof. De Wispelaere will also offer a seminar for Master’s students: “Recent Advances in Basic Income Policy Research“.



On Thursday, 27th April, he will present an evening lecture on Basic Income Trials: The problem of assuring (continued) political commitment. This event will take place online as well as onsite.

On 11 May, as part of the UBITrans Public Seminar Series, he will give a lecture on “Basic income as an Eco-Social Policy Instrument? A Preliminary Framework and Comparative Analysis of Policy Alternatives“.

Interview with Jurgen De Wispelaere about his visit in Freiburg

What do you hope to gain from your time in Freiburg on both a private and academic level?

On a personal level it is really interesting for me to visit Germany again and reclaim my long-lost quasi-German heritage. I was actually born in Köln — hence the name Jürgen, although I dropped the Umlaut when I moved to the UK in the late 1990s because the English don’t know what to do with that. I moved to Belgium when I was 10y old and haven’t been back to Germany since. At the time I was fluent in German, but 40 years later, I hope to use the three months in Freiburg to recover as much as possible. Of course, it isn’t just about the language but also reconnecting to the German culture and lifestyle I still vaguely remember.

On a professional level I look forward to meeting and discussing basic income with a whole group of students — master, PhD and postdocs — at GWP and FRIBIS. Meeting fresh faces and discussing their and my research is what research visits are all about. As you become more senior in your career, you start to realise that the really exciting new ideas often come from people at the start of their career. So I’m keen to learn and explore collaborating with both students and faculty in Freiburg. At the same time, I also look forward to connecting again with broader research communities in Europe, which is much easier to do from Freiburg than from Valdivia in the south of Chile (where I normally live).

Are there any writing projects you want to focus on during your stay?

Funnily enough, yes! In addition to finishing up some small pieces of research, I’ll be working on three main areas of research. First, I will continue working on the policy impact of basic income experiments, which is an area of research strangely absent from much of the debate around basic income experiments. People talk about the design, implementation and findings of experiments, but no one really looks at what happens after. This is a project I have started with Joe Chrisp, which already led to a special issue of the European Journal of Social Security, but which we are now developing and expanding.

A second project is also related to basic income experiments. With my long-standing collaborator Lindsay Stirton, I plan to work on a paper that examines how to assure that political actors continue their initial commitment to funding, designing, implementing and evaluating a basic income experiment. It turns out that governments who make an initial political commitment to a basic income experiment immediately face all sorts of political pressures and circumstances that threaten this continued commitment. By looking at several of the recent cases (Finland, Ontario, Catalonia and Ireland) I hope to get more insight in what is the core problem and how we might think of protecting basic income experiments from loss of political commitment over time. This will be the topic of my public lecture on 27 April. Third, building on earlier work I published on the relation between basic income and exit from the labour market, I will explore the option of collaborating on some research in the political economy of basic income and the exit option with Prof Neumärker and several of the PhD students. These projects should keep me busy during the three months I’ll be visiting Freiburg.