Policymaking through opposing ideas? Framing conditionality and unconditionality in Finnish parliamentary discourse
Keywords:ideas, framing, conditionality, unemployment benefits, basic income
In the ideational branch of institutionalist literature, policy outcomes are often explained in terms of a single idea or a set of ideas prevailing over others. This article explores a unique case where the Finnish government simultaneously introduced policies grounded in the ideas of unconditionality – in the form of a basic income experiment – and conditionality, reinforced through reforms concerning unemployment benefits. The study focuses on the ways in which political actors, in their framing strategies, connected their arguments to cognitive paradigms and normative public sentiments located in the background of policy debates. Through a thematic analysis of documentary data, the study finds that the seemingly contradictory unconditional and conditional measures were made compatible by framing them in connection to the prevailing cognitive activation paradigm. However, the framing of stricter conditionality additionally made use of normative arguments, connecting to public sentiments on what may be considered appropriate.
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