Finland: Report Finds Basic Income Recipients Happier Than Their Counterparts
Unemployed people derive considerable psychological benefits from receiving a minimum fixed amount of financial aid from the state, reports Bloomberg on April 4, 2019.
Finland Pilots a Basic Income Experiment
Minimum income for the unemployed has become one of the most talked about issues of the 21st century.
In 2015, Finland surprised the world with the announcement of basic income for the unemployed at a national level. The move was widely seen as an amalgamation of scientific methods of sustenance and public policy.
The highly ambitious experiment was to span two-years over 2017 and 2018. However, it’s worth pointing out that because of how research data is available in Finland, there is a year gap. This means that in 2019, employment data from 2017 will be released. Similarly, data for the year 2018 will be available in 2020. Hence, the results drawn from the available data records should be taken with a grain of salt.
The results reported in the February 2019 official report from the Finnish government highlight the disadvantages of the country’s existing means-tested system.
In the same vein, according to the latest results released on April 4, 2019, by the social insurance institution Kela, people who received a basic income described their current socio-economic situation as more favorable than those in the control group – people who received traditional unemployment benefits.
Kela added that the people who were a part of the experiment group also experienced less stress and fewer financial worries than the individuals in the control group.
In a nutshell, basic income recipients were observed to be happier with their lives compared to their counterparts who received traditional unemployment benefits from the government. Further, they were also found to have more trust in other people and social institutions and displayed a higher degree of control over their own lives.
It was also found that those provided with standard government benefits in Finland rated their satisfaction with life at 6.76 on a scale of zero to ten. However, recipients of a basic income rated their life satisfaction a healthy 7.32 – a significant improvement of eight percent.
With that said, the surprising results definitely cannot be ignored by public policy makers the world over. What might have sounded an absurd idea on paper turned out to be, albeit among its limited sample size, quite an effective policy both financially and mentally for the subjects involved.