Experimental study on a universal basic income

A guaranteed basic income was tested in Finland during 2017 and 2018. During the experiment, a total of 2,000 unemployed persons between 25 and 58 years of age received a monthly payment of €560, unconditionally and without means testing.

Preliminary results: self-perceived wellbeing improved, during the first year no effects on employment

First results of the basic income experiment were published on 8 February 2019.

The basic income experiment did not increase the employment level of the participants in the first year of the experiment. On the basis of an analysis of register data on an annual level, during the first year of the experiment the recipients of a basic income were no better or worse than the control group at finding employment in the open labour market. The register data are available with a one year delay, which means that the results for the second year of the experiment will be published in the first few months of 2020.

According to a survey, at the end of the experiment the recipients of a basic income perceived their wellbeing as being better than did those in the control group. 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.

The results are to some extent preliminary, and it is not yet possible to draw any firm conclusions regarding the effects of the basic income experiment. The results of the experiment will be published in stages during 2019 and 2020.

Analysis of the basic income experiment 

A more extensive study report on the first year of the experiment will be completed in spring 2019. The results of the whole experiment will be completed in spring 2020.

The analysis will include both a register-based study and a phone survey among members of the experimental group and the control group.

The main goal of the analysis is to help understand how receiving a basic income affects the income and employment status of the participants. The impact of the basic income on the participants’ general well-being will also be investigated. The experimental group of 2,000 persons is compared against a control group comprised of individuals who were not selected for the experimental group.

Organised by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), the project will also involve VATT Institute for Economic Research and other implementation partners.

The basic income experiment run for two years

The Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä was testing a guaranteed basic income in Finland during 2017 and 2018. A working group of researchers from a range of organisations under the project leadership of Kela explored ways in which to carry out the basic income experiment. The experiment was implemented by Kela. Kela will also organise the analysis of the basic income experiment.

The basic income experiment was launched on 1 January 2017. During the experiment, a total of 2,000 unemployed persons between 25 and 58 years of age received a monthly payment of €560, unconditionally and without means testing. The experiment run for two years until 31.12.2018. 

The purpose of the basic income experiment was to find ways to reshape the social security system in response to changes in the labour market. The experiment also explored how to make the system more empowering and more effective in terms of providing incentives for work. Further objectives included the reduction of bureaucracy and the streamlining the complicated system for providing welfare benefits.

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Contact us

Professor of Practice Olli E. Kangas,  University of Turku
olli.kangas[at]utu.fi, +358 45 138 3790

Senior researcher Minna Ylikännö, Kela
minna.ylikanno[at]kela.fi, +358 50 313 8712

Researcher Miska Simanainen, Kela
miska.simanainen[at]kela.fi, +358 50 552 2095

Researcher Katja Mäkkylä, Kela
katja.makkyla[at]kela.fi, +358 50 566 8380

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