Preliminary results of the Finnish ‘basic income’ experiment

The experiment was begun on 1 January 2017 and ended on 31 December 2018. In the experiment, 2000 randomly selected unemployed persons were paid a monthly tax-exempt basic income of 560 euros regardless of any other income they may have had or whether they were actively looking for work. The recipients of a basic income were selected through random sampling among those who in November 2016 received an unemployment benefit from Kela (an independent social security institution). The control group consisted of those who in November 2016 received an unemployment benefit from Kela but were not selected for the experiment.

The evaluation of the experiment studies the effects of the basic income on the employment status and income and wellbeing of the participants. The provisional findings, found that the basic income experiment did not increase the employment level of the participants in the first year of the experiment. The employment register data is available with a one year delay, which means that the results for the second year of the experiment will be published in the first months of 2020. However, at the end of the experiment the recipients of a basic income perceived their wellbeing as being better than did those in the control group. ‘The recipients of a basic income had less stress symptoms as well as less difficulties to concentrate and less health problems than the control group. They were also more confident in their future and in their ability to influence societal issues’, according to Minna Ylikännö, Lead Researcher at Kela.

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