Finland conducted an experiment testing a basic income in 2017-2018. In the experiment, 2,000 randomly selected unemployed persons were paid a monthly basic income of 560 euros regardless of any other income they may have had or whether they were actively looking for work. The main goal of the study to evaluate the experiment is to help understand how receiving a basic income affects the income, wellbeing and employment status of the participants.
The current social security system, which has been gradually built up over many decades, was created under very different circumstances. Atypical work arrangements are now more common, and our social security system no longer meets modern requirements.
A guaranteed basic income could create more flexibility in allowing people to accept a job without losing their benefits. For this reason, Finland wanted to test a basic income.
The basic income experiment was launched by the Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. The research group led by Kela studied alternative ways of implementing the experiment. Legislation was enacted concerning the experiment, and Kela was responsible for the practical implementation of the experiment and for the payment of the basic income.
The Finnish experiment differs from other experiments in that it covered the whole country and it was based on law. The experiment was carried out in the whole country, and participation was not voluntary.
The preliminary results will be ready in February 2019. A more extensive research report on the first year of the experiment will be published in spring 2019. The final results concerning the whole experiment will be ready in spring 2020 since the necessary register data are available with about one year’s delay.
The experiment strives to study the effects of the basic income on the employment status and wellbeing of the participants. The result will be new information that could not have been obtained without the experiment. This information can be used when reforming the social security system. Furthermore, the lessons learned from the planning stage of the experiment provide a solid base for the planning of other similar experiments.
A study group of 2,000 was selected by means of random sampling in December 2016. Included in the sampling were all persons between 25 and 58 whom Kela paid labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance in November 2016 for some other reason than a temporary layoff.
The basic income experiment ended 31 December 2018, and the last basic income payments were made in December 2018. After the end of the experiment, the participants can claim other benefits from Kela that they may be entitled to. If a participant is fully or partially unemployed, he or she must register with TE Services as an unemployed jobseeker and claim an unemployment benefit from Kela.
Anyone who was paid a basic income and who found work during the experiment could keep the basic income. Wages, salaries and income from self-employment did not affect the amount of the basic income. The basic income was also not affected by whether the recipient was working on a full-time or part-time basis.