Finland's basic income trial fails to spur employment

Finland's basic income trial fails to spur employment

Finland's basic income trial fails to spur employment

During the trial, 2,000 unemployed Finns became the first Europeans to enjoy a guaranteed basic income, a monthly pay check from the state, regardless of whether they found work or sat at home on the couch.

In the Finnish experiment, the basic income is below what unemployment benefits pay, which is 32.40 euros a day, or nearly 1,000 euros ($1,135) a month - subject to income tax of about 30 percent.

On Thursday, Sipila's Centre Party proposed a welfare model in which only the poor could claim the basic income, with sanctions if they reject a job offer.

The basic income has been controversial in Finland, with leaders of the main political parties wary of offering "money for nothing". Final conclusions from the Experiment could however not be drawn, since not all the data have been evaluated.

He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it hard again for him to accept commissions, because "I. can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits". The share of people who reported earned or entrepreneurial income was similarly only one percentage point higher among the participants than the control group - 43.70 per cent compared to 42.85 per cent.

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Finland's basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced the trial's initial findings.

The basic income is tax free, but barely enough to live on for someone paying rent, so it keeps pressure on the recipients to join the work force.

Fifty-five percent of basic income participants and 46 percent of the control group surveyed at the end of past year perceived their health as good or very good.

But those in the trial reported they were happier and healthier than 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 basic income may have a positive effect on the wellbeing of the recipient even though it does not in the short term improve the person's employment prospects", said Ylikännö.

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The survey results should probably be taken with a grain of salt because of the low response rate to the researchers' questionnaire - just 31 percent of the treatment group and 20 percent in the control group. They could even continue to apply for unemployment benefits if the amount due to them was higher than the basic income, a frequent situation for families with children.

This was the first official conclusion from the two-year test that gave 2,000 randomly selected unemployed 560 euros (635 USA dollars) per month.

The participants in both the trial and the control group were selected randomly among those who received unemployment benefits from Kela in November 2016, Ylikanno told The Associated Press.

Beginning in 2017, some 2,000 recipients of unemployment benefits were given a monthly stipend of €560, tax-free and without any conditions, as part of in simplifying welfare and lowering unemployment.

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