Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Kela – The Social Insurance Institution of Finland have released the report ‘The basic income experiment 2017–2018 in Finland. Preliminary results’.

In the experiment, a randomly selected group of 2,000 persons aged 25–58 years who had received an unemployment benefit from Kela in November 2016 were paid 560 euros per month for a study period of two years. This corresponded to the monthly net amount of the basic unemployment allowance and the labour market subsidy provided by Kela.

The report is the first research publication presenting the effects of the experiment. It includes a preliminary register-based statistical analysis of the employment effects of the experiment for 2017. An analysis based on survey data examines the impact of the experiment on the wellbeing of the basic income recipients.

Key preliminary findings

The report is based on the analysis of register and survey data, on a comparison of the test group (basic income recipients) and the control group (non-recipients) and on statistical testing of the differences. The results are preliminary insofar as the register data at this stage only cover the first year of the experiment, 2017. The survey data covers both years of the experiment, 2017 and 2018.

  • Employment. Basic income recipients were no better or worse at finding employment than those in the control group during the first year of the experiment.
  • Other social benefits. There are differences between the groups when considering benefits provided by Kela. Members of the control group received basic unemployment allowance, labour market subsidy, social assistance and sickness allowance more often than the recipients. There were no differences regarding housing allowance between the groups.
  • Wellbeing. Basic income recipients experienced significantly fewer problems related to health, stress and ability to concentrate than those in the control group. They were also considerably more confident in their own future and their ability to influence societal issues than the control group.
  • Trust in people, institutions and politicians. As regards generalised trust (trust in other people), there was a similar, but smaller, difference. There was only a small difference between the groups as regards trust in different institutions, such as the court system and the police. Finally, the basic income recipients trusted politicians considerably more than the control group did.

The authors highlight that since the results of the report are in many respects preliminary, no firm conclusions should be drawn about the effects of the basic income experiment on employment and wellbeing. A more reliable report on the actual effects of the experiment will be produced when all the data for the evaluation study – register data, surveys, interviews and different combinations of these – have been analysed in more detail and when the effects of the political, institutional and schedule-related parameters that created a framework for the experiment have been evaluated.

(Source: Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health | Read the report)

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