The government has released the first results of its study into a two year basic income experiment which came to an end in December.
Two thousand people were randomly selected for the project, and received a regular monthly income of €560 whether they found a job or not.
Preliminary findings released today about the effectiveness of the experiment conclude that it did not increase employment, but the people who received the money felt better at the end of the experiment than those in a control group of unemployed people who did not receive any monthly basic income.
“We can say that during the first year of the experiment the recipients of a basic income were no better or worse than the control group at finding employment in the open labour market” says Ohto Kanninen, Research Director the Labour Institute for Economic Research.
While this initial analysis of the experiment finds the people who received the basic income didn’t work any more, or earn any more than the control group, they did perceive that their wellbeing was better.
Some 55% of the basic income recipients said they thought their wellbeing had improved, while only 25% of the control group felt the same.
“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” says Minna Ylikännö, Lead Researcher at the Finnish social security agency Kela.
The recipients of basic income were also more confident in their possibilities of finding employment, although that feeling is not backed up with facts of any more actual employment than the control group and only a quarter of people receiving the basic income money even responded to the survey questions.
Criticism of the basic income experiment
Critics say that Finland’s basic income experiment was flawed from the start, with a sample group too small, too spread apart geographically, that they were all unemployed, and that the experiment didn’t continue for long enough to get accurate results at the end.
In a true universal basic income system, the money would be given to every member of a population, not just unemployed people.
Greens still want to introduce UBI
This week the Finnish Greens announced their own plan to roll out universal basic income over the lifetime of two parliaments.
The Greens’ scheme would give everyone €600 per month, as part of their overall plans to reform Finland’s social security safety net.
Before that, the Greens want to have a bigger basic income experiment involving 10,000 people in all walks of life.