FINLAND: further results from the famous Finnish UBI experiment published

Further preliminary results from Finland’s much publicised basic income experiment have been announced: firstly, the study’s basic income recipients reported increased trust; secondly, increased agency; and thirdly (perhaps unsurprisingly), they reported an improved financial situation.

The experiment ran for two years, starting on January 1st 2017. It was administered by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). Its main objective was to find ways to reshape the Finnish social security system in response to a changing labour market. A total of 2000 unemployed persons between 25 and 58 years of age received a monthly payment of € 560, unconditionally (to be spent as recipient saw fit) and without means testing.

BIEN has already reported on how the the experimenters observed a positive impact on reported wellbeing and a non-significant impact on employment. These latest announcements, released on April 4th, add to this. The full set of preliminary results can be found in this report.

Regarding increased trust, respondents who received a basic income had more trust in other people and in societal institutions — i.e., politicians, political parties, police and the courts — than members of the control group. On a scale from 0 to 10, the average score for trust in other people increased from 6.3 in the control group, to 6.8 amongst basic income recipients. As for trust in politicians and political parties, the average score increased from 4.0 to 4.5. For the combined category of courts and the police, the average score increased from 6.9 to 7.2.

According to Minna Ylikännö of Kela, trust in other people and in institutions is essential both to individual well-being and to the functioning of society at large.

Regarding increased agency, recipients reported greater confidence in their ability to influence their own lives when it came to personal finance and finding employment. On a scale of 0 to 5, recipients reported a score of 3.2, whereas the control group reported an average score of only 2.9.

Regarding personal finances, recipients reported an increase in their ability to live comfortably. Participants in the experiment were asked to categorise their financial situation as either ‘living comfortably’, ‘coping’, ‘finding it difficult’, or ‘finding it very difficult’. The proportion of people describing themselves as living comfortably increased from 7% in the control group to 12% amongst basic income recipients. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the proportion of people who described themselves as ‘finding it very difficult’ decreased from 17% in the control to 13% amongst basic income recipients.

All of the above-mentioned differences persisted even after background factors were controlled for. The data was gathered through phone interviews conducted immediately before the experiment was concluded. Further results are expected soon.

About James Herbert

James Herbert has written 1 articles.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Mr. Cobbler

    If politicians keep side stepping the issue of a permanent implementation of UBI in their respective countries, they can watch their entire social structures erode into an apocalyptic nightmare. I am not fond of playing the DOOMSDAY card but given the rate of increasing despair among the world’s most vulnerable groups, it is only a matter of time before their hopelessness turns to anger which will fuel them regardless of nutritional or financial sustenance. UBI works to improve the quality of life for all those who receive it – that has been proven time and again. it is time to stop playing economic musical chairs with people’s lives and give them the means to live with dignity and enjoyment whether they are fortunately employed or not. I call on all politicians to vote YES to a permanent UBI program NOW.

  • Bernard Kirkham

    I wholeheartedly agree. This business of experiments and trials with so-called “Universal” Basic Income is farcical. The clue is in the meaning of the word universal…

    Radical redistribution of wealth is necessary for justice. We face a huge number of global problems stemming from the explosion of human productivity both in wealth-creation and fecundity and the rapidly developing effects of global warming.

    Our chances of finding solutions to these myriad interconnected problems are nil without a sense of solidarity which can only come when “we are all in this together” is used not as a trick to baffle the mass of people, but as a statement of truth.

    The patronizing tone of this Finnish report, which sits in judgement on the poor to see if they are going to use the extra dole they are given wisely or not, I find sickening. UBI has to be a right, not a reward for good behavior. The U in UBI means that everyone receives the Benefit. Why are we testing it out on the poor?

    Why do we not have an experiment to see if the other end of society, the super-rich, are spending their money foolishly or not. I heard recently some “good” news about how well a British company was doing, thus helping the economy. What was its business? Building and fitting gyms on luxury yachts.

    The world is in the relatively early stages of a mass extinction, brought about by human activity. It might still be possible to reign in this process, but not without getting humanity as a whole to cooperate, and economic justice is a precondition for this.

    UBI should be accompanied by a narrowing of differentials from top to bottom, and the eradication of the super-rich as well as the super-poor.

  • Sam Eliasen

    Couple the basic income with each person getting~ a weekly coaching session~ to help the person focus their goals and encourage action on them and the employment stat will go up perhaps way up. Its important to remember the slow accretion of habits related to being low income will not go away over night. People will need help to shift those behaviors and the coaching model could provide that.

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