Finnish basic income experiment attracts broad international interest

Kela has so far this month had hundreds of contacts from foreign media organisations looking for information about the Finnish basic income experiment.

The social security system administered by Kela, the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, is an important part of Finnish society and its development. Finnish social security is best known internationally for the unique maternity package. Recently, an experiment testing an unconditional basic income was launched in Finland. It is a novel social innovation which has sparked considerable interest worldwide.

Marjukka Turunen of Kela's Legal Affairs Unit says that the Finnish maternity package, now in its 80th year, has given a boost to Finland's image around the world for many years. The basic income experiment now looks set to garner even more interest.

Launched on 1 January 2017, the Finnish basic income experiment is being conducted  among 2,000 persons between ages 25 and 58, who will receive a monthly basic income of €560 for two years. The experiment will be implemented by Kela.   

It has drawn exceptional interest internationally. Kela has been contacted from such countries as the United States, Canada, Korea and Japan, as well as from various European nations. The basic income experiment has been featured on CNN and Fox News and in The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other media organisations.

Many of their questions have focused on such topics as how the Finnish experiment works in practice, how the 2,000 participants were selected, and whether Finland plans to adopt a basic income after the experiment is over.

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