Finland: Seminar and podcast on the preliminary results from the Basic Income trial
Minna Ylikännö. Picture credit to: Kela
A half-day seminar called “Finnish Basic Income Experiment – Science meets social security reform” happened on the 4th of April, hosted by Kela, to focus on the presentation and discussion of the recently concluded (the cash transfer’s stage) basic income trial’s preliminary results. At the seminar, other Kela researchers communicated their analysis on the data, such as Olli Kangas (on the overall evaluation of the experiment), Ohto Kanninen (register data analysis) and Signe Jauhiainen (subjective wellbeing and financial stress)
The results had already been discussed by Minna Ylikännö, a senior researcher at Kela, on a podcast recorded in February, hosted by Jim Pugh and Owen Poindexter. In this conversation, Minna confirmed that the experiment has been more limited in scope than was originally planned by Kela researchers, and that to date there has been no observable effect on take-up of employment (on the long-term unemployed participants in the experiment). Answering a phone survey (around 30% of the participants), Minna refers that those in the BI trial reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and well-being, more confidence in the future and self-perceived better mental health in comparison with the control group. Even though the data analysis process is not over yet, this process may not a include a second phone survey.
Minna Ylikännö also recommends, in the eventual pursuit of other basic income-type of trials, that a careful consideration of all factors which can motivate/demotivate people to look for a job, including a series of subjective factors which enables them to do so. In her words: “it’s not just about financial incentives, it’s about well-being”. In the referred podcast, the hosts commented that, in talking about basic income experiments, people tend to project their own desires or fears, over the results which can easily be spinned in positive and negative directions.