Friday, February 08, 2019
Finland has completed a major trial into the effects of a basic income, and the preliminary results are positive. Recipients felt happier, less stressed, trusted politicians more, and even felt more comfortable on the same levels of income as people that did not receive a basic income.
"The findings are broadly positive, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions," Luke Martinelli, a research associate from the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath, tells Inverse. "There are some significant results on self-reported well-being and levels of trust in other people and institutions."
The findings, shared in the Helsinki-based House of the Estates Friday morning, cover one of the most ambitious basic income experiments ever conducted. The experiment, launched by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä in January 2017 and that concluded on December 31, saw 2,000 unemployed Finns receive 560 ($634) per month without conditions. The researchers compared their experiences with a control group of a further 5,000.
The initial results only cover the first year of the study: the full results are expected in the spring of 2020, and a more detailed comparative analysis is expected in 2021. Despite the preliminary nature of the results, survey data showed the basic income is already having a positive effect.
"The experimental groups clearly experienced fewer problems related to health, stress, mood, and concentration," Minna Ylikännö, senior researcher at government social security institution Kela, said in remarks translated from Finnish. "They had more trust in their future and their possibility to influence societal matters. General trust, that is trust in other people, was stronger and they trusted the politicians more than the control group."
While trust in politicians ranked higher, trust in other authorities like the police and judiciary saw no significant movements. There was, however, a stronger belief that they could gain employment in the future. Recipients also reported higher levels of satisfaction with income levels when compared with control group members on similar income levels.
"This is due to this income being so secure," Ylikännö said. "It is paid unconditionally without bureaucracy directly in one's bank account and they can trust in getting this sum of money, every month, regularly, without having to stress for it in any way."
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