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FINLAND BASIC INCOME LEFT THE JOBLESS, HAPPY BUT JOBLESS

Giving jobless people in Finland a basic income for two years did not lead them to find work, researchers said.

From January 2017 until December 2018, 2,000 unemployed Finns got a monthly flat payment of €560 (£490; $685).

finland currency.jpg

The aim was to see if a guaranteed safety net would help people find jobs, and support them if they had to take insecure gig economy work.

While employment levels did not improve, participants said they felt happier and less stressed.

When it launched the pilot scheme back in 2017, Finland became the first European country to test out the idea of an unconditional basic income. It was run by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), a Finnish government agency, and involved 2,000 randomly-selected people on unemployment benefits.

It immediately attracted international interest – but these results have now raised questions about the effectiveness of such schemes.

Giving jobless people in Finland a basic income for two years did not lead them to find work, researchers said.

From January 2017 until December 2018, 2,000 unemployed Finns got a monthly flat payment of €560 (£490; $685).

The aim was to see if a guaranteed safety net would help people find jobs, and support them if they had to take insecure gig economy work.

While employment levels did not improve, participants said they felt happier and less stressed.

When it launched the pilot scheme back in 2017, Finland became the first European country to test out the idea of an unconditional basic income. It was run by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), a Finnish government agency, and involved 2,000 randomly-selected people on unemployment benefits.

It immediately attracted international interest – but these results have now raised questions about the effectiveness of such schemes.

Did it help unemployed people in Finland find jobs, as the centre-right Finnish government had hoped? No, not really.

Mr Simanainen says that while some individuals found work, they were no more likely to do so than a control group of people who weren’t given the money. They are still trying to work out exactly why this is, for the final report that will be published in 2020.

 

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