Kela (the Finnish Social Insurance Institution), the government body running the nation’s newly launched basic income experiment, is hosting a live-streamed discussion of the basic income trial as well as the country’s long-standing maternity package.
On January 12, Kela will hold an event called “Socially Innovative Finland”, which will provide information about the country’s basic income experiment–launched on January 1, 2017, to much international publicity.
The event will also include discussion of one of Finland’s existing social welfare initiatives: its internationally renowned maternity package, initiated in 1938, which provides all mothers-to-be with a package of child necessities, such as clothing and bedding (the box itself can be used as a crib).
Three members of Kela will speak:
• Olli Kangas (Director of Government and Community Relations): “Basic income – Part of tomorrow’s social security?”
• Marjukka Turunen (Head of Legal Affairs Unit): “How the basic income experiment works in practice”
• Olga Tarsalainen (Communications Specialist): “Finnish Maternity package – The best known brand of Finnish social security”
The event will take place on Thursday, January 12, 9:00-10:30 Finnish time (UTC/GMT +2), at Kela’s head office in Helsinki. It will also be broadcast live at the following page: https://videonet.fi/web/kela/20170112/.
Questions for the speakers can be submitted on Twitter during the event, using the hashtag #basicincome2017 or #maternitypackage2017. Questions may also be emailed in advance to Eeva-Kaisa Kivistö (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Complete details about the event are available from Kela: https://www.kela.fi/socially-innovative-finland.
Background: Finland’s Basic Income Experiment
On January 1, 2017, Finland launched an experiment in which 2,000 individuals will receive unconditional cash payments of €560 (about 590 USD) per month for two years. Test subjects were randomly selected from a pool of about 175,000 individuals between ages 25 and 58 and already receiving unemployment benefits from Kela, and those selected were required to participate. The main goal of the experiment, at present, is to determine whether unconditional cash transfers are superior to means-tested unemployment benefits with respect to promoting job-seeking and employment. However, Olli Kangas, leader of the research team behind the experiment, has recommended expanding the experiment to other target populations (including “other persons with small incomes” and individuals under age 25).
News of the experiment’s launch has been widely disseminated through international media, although some reports seem misleadingly to suggest that the Finnish government has actually decided to implement a basic income (or a basic income for the unemployed), despite the fact that the Finnish government is merely testing the policy, with any decision to implement a basic income for its citizens awaiting the conclusion and analysis of the experiment.
The latest information about the study can be found on Kela’s “Basic Income Experiment 2017-2018” webpage: https://www.kela.fi/web/en/basic-income-experiment-2017-2018.
For additional background on Finland’s basic income experiment, see these previous reports in Basic Income News:
Kate McFarland “Basic Income experiment authorized by Parliament” (December 18, 2016)
Kate McFarland “Kela’s report on Basic Income experiments released in English” (October 15, 2016)
Kate McFarland “Legislation for Basic Income Experiment Underway” (August 25, 2016)
Article reviewed by Danny Pearlberg
Cover Photo: Sunset in Helsinki, CC BY-NC 2.0 Giuseppe Milo