The preliminary results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment – what you need to know

The preliminary results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment – what you need to know

The preliminary results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment seem to show receiving a Basic Income causes no impact on employment and a positive impact on well-being.

Cleo Goodman, Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland Trustee @CleoGoodman

The preliminary results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment have been published. Despite what we may have been led to believe, this is only the first insight into the experiment. There were also many reports of the cancellation of the experiment, but it ran for the full planned period with a suggested extension being rejected.

It is important to ensure we’re being accurately informed about Basic Income experiments. This is of particular significance in Scotland, where we are currently part-way through the current feasibility work looking at introducing an experiment here. Kela, the Finnish Social Security Agency, are doing a fantastic job of reporting the analysis of results and Basic Income Scotland, the Scottish Basic Income steering group, keep us all informed on the progress of their research. You can find their report Exploring the Practicalities of a Basic Income Pilot on the Carnegie UK website.

So what do you need to know about the Finnish experiment?

  • 2000 randomly selected unemployed people receive a €560 Basic Income each month from 1 Jan 2017 – 31 Dec 2018
  • Run by the Finnish social security agency Kela
  • Results collected through a register-based study (analysis of information collected on all citizens, not just the experimental group) and a phone survey towards the end of the experiment
  • Looked at employment status, income and well-being
  • Experimental data intended to be used when reshaping the social security system

‘The lessons learned while planning and implementing the experiment provide a solid base for the planning of new ambitious social experiments – for instance of a negative income tax’, says Olli Kangas, scientific director of the research project.

And what do we know so far?

  • Results for the first year have been analysed, there is a one year delay on the results so the analysis of the second year will be published in 2020.
  • There was no notable impact of receiving a Basic Income on employment.
  • Recipients of the Basic Income had a better perceived well-being than the control group.
  • Of those receiving the Basic Income, a higher percentage perceived their health as good or very good and a lower percentage experienced quite high and very high degrees of stress when compared to the control group.

These preliminary results seem to support the idea that a Basic Income would not negatively impact people’s willingness to engage with paid employment. They also imply that a Basic Income would improve people’s well-being. ‘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’, said Minna Ylikännö the Lead Researcher at Kela.

You can find more detail on the preliminary analysis of the Finnish Basic Income experiment on the Kela website

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