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Universal basic income boosts wellbeing, but not employment

10 February 2019

A report by Finland's Social Insurance Institution, or Kela, looked at the first year of the trial.

Researchers studied whether the no-strings-attached income could better incentivise jobless people to find work than traditional unemployment benefits, which may be docked as soon as the recipient starts earning money. "This is what I call the Nordic welfare model 2.0", he added.

Last year, the newly elected Ford government of Ontario pulled the plug on a basic income pilot project created by the previous Wynne government.

The basic income has been controversial in Finland, with leaders of the main political parties wary of offering "money for nothing".

The first results of Finland's two-year experiment with a universal basic income are in, and if they're confirmed by further research, they will probably hurt the unconditional income cause.

He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it hard again for him to accept commissions, because "I. can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits".

The proportion that had had earnings or income from self-employment was approximately one percentage point higher for the recipients of a basic income than for the control group (43.70% and 42.85%). December 2018, ended the Experiment.

"It would be good to see "saturation pilots" in particular, in which everyone in a specific area receives a basic income", he said, adding that five places - four of which are in Scotland - have already volunteered to host such a trial. The revenue from own work were in the test group is nearly equal, on average 21 euros lower than in the control group. Over a half (55%) of the trial participants said they felt that they are in good or very good health, compared to 46 per cent in the control group. 17% of the recipients of a basic income and 25% of the control group experienced quite a high degree or a very high degree of stress.

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Participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of filling out forms or attending jobseekers' courses.

Universal basic income (UBI) has become a hot topic in many Western developed nations, where it appears that automation and advancements in AI might gradually increase unemployment to potentially unsafe levels.

People receiving basic income over the past two years said the tax-exempt benefit made it easier to set up a business and that they were pleased with the reduction in red tape.

"The results of the register analysis and the survey are not contradictory".

The survey results should probably be taken with a grain of salt because of the low response rate to the researchers' questionnaire - just 31 percent of the treatment group and 20 percent in the control group.

The participants in both the trial and the control group were selected randomly among those who received unemployment benefits from Kela in November 2016, Kela researcher Minna Ylikanno told The Associated Press.

Beginning in 2017, some 2,000 recipients of unemployment benefits were given a monthly stipend of €560, tax-free and without any conditions, as part of in simplifying welfare and lowering unemployment.

Universal basic income boosts wellbeing, but not employment