Short Title

Lessons from Sweden


Progressive critics of a universal basic income argue that most nations face a budgetary choice between a full basic income and investment in public goods, including universal health care, free and well-funded education, and universal pensions, and have prioritized a robust welfare state, or the "Swedish Model," over basic income. But examination of Swedish economic policy reveals that the welfare state is only one of the ingredients of the Swedish Model, and that another is an interventionist labor market policy unlikely to be expandable to larger states without Sweden's cultural and demographic characteristics. Indeed, evidence suggests that Sweden's own recent diversification—not only of race and ethnicity but of occupational strata—will make the Swedish Model less stable in its own home. What lessons can be applied to the case for a basic income in the U.S. and other large and diverse nations or regions?