Finland's basic income experiment boosted participants' well-being but did not spur them to take on work, according to a "halfway" analysis. The study compares 2,000 unemployed on an assured income with a control group.
The Finnish government's Social Insurance Institute (Kela) published mixed results Friday in its bid to find simpler alternatives to a social security model that currently includes sanctions on beneficiaries who turn down work.
The study involves giving 2,000 unemployed people a "basic income," a guaranteed but small monthly income with no strings attached, rather than standard state assistance.
The randomly picked people — aged between 25 and 58 — receive €560 ($635) monthly, unconditionally and without intrusive means-testing. They would continue to receive the income regardless of whether they later found work.
The study is being watched across Europe for lessons on how labor and welfare systems can be rearranged — especially given the prospect of artificial intelligence and robotics advances having potentially vast impacts on the labor market as a whole.
Better well-being, but only 'minor' employment gains
Kela said participants —at the halfway mark in the two-year study — had reported improved well-being, including fewer stress symptoms, fewer health problems and less difficulty in concentrating mentally. This was compared to self-reporting from the control group using Finland's normal system, said the institute.
The basic income recipients "were also more confident in their future and in their ability to influence societal issues," it added.