Finland’s basic income trial boosted ‘wellbeing’ but not employment

New Zealand isn’t the only country trying to improve wellbeing.

Reuters:  Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment

Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

But participants in the trial were happier and healthier than the control group.

“The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way (than) the comparison group,” chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

Chief economist for the trial Ohto Kanniainen said the low impact on employment was not a surprise, given that many jobless people have few skills or struggle with difficult life situations or health concerns.

“Economists have known for a long time that with unemployed people financial incentives don’t work quite the way some people would expect them to,” he added.

Giving unemployed people more money should improve their wellbeing and it should also help with improving happiness if it makes it easier for them to survive financially.

But going by this, on it’s own it isn’t a solution to unemployment.

If so then the question for a basic income is how much more money a country wants (and can afford) to give people living on benefits. The amount could make a significant difference – if they make it too generous then it’s likely more people will choose unemployment as a financially viable option, further increasing the costs.

I wonder if Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson have something like this in mind for their ‘wellbeing’ budget.

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21 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 9, 2019

    A late friend who was a prison warder, was surprised to discover that someone on the DPB had the same income as he did.

    If it’s too generous and no strings attached, there would be less of an incentive for people whose work was likely to be uninteresting to look for it.It’s also very naive to think that giving people more money will automatically increase their standard of living and that of their children. It never has and it never will.

    Reply
  2. Duker

     /  February 9, 2019

    “I wonder if Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson have something like this in mind for their ‘wellbeing’ budget.”
    Is this what qualifies for political comment these days ?

    Well surprise surprise guess what WAS spelled out here is this blog !
    https://yournz.org/2018/12/17/grant-robertson-explains-how-his-wellbeing-budget-will-work/

    The five Priorities for Budget 2019 are:

    Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy
    Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities
    Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities
    Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence
    Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 9, 2019

      What are you trying to say? You throw out so many squirrels it’s hard to make sense of what you post.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  February 9, 2019

        ‘squirrels’..the new right wing label when they are found wanting.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 9, 2019

          You’re just jealous another left-winger has a bigger squirrel farm than you have & your crown as the king of ‘whataboutism’ on here has been taken by Duker. You’re even being left behind in the ‘John Key syndrome’ stakes & the ‘derailing discussion’ numbers.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  February 9, 2019

            whatever..the weather…otherwise fine…enjoy opposition..and don’t forget Keys golden rule…’lie,then deny…then lie..again’! 😉

            Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 9, 2019

        I hope that the actual budget is less vague than that.

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  February 9, 2019

        It’s obvious to every on except DPB….no need for PG to come up with ‘ would they have this in mind’ type Farrar mind games when his own blog has spelled it out.

        Wasn’t national praised some years back for increasing some benefits
        https://yournz.org/2017/06/18/support-for-family-incomes-package/

        No need to say ‘would they have this in mind’ speculation but it’s all spelt out from Nationals own information release….in detail.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 9, 2019

          Now you’re delving back to mid-2017 on here – just so you don’t lose track again the topic is about ‘basic income’ (just before you start ranting about Bridges being in a woman’s mag or something else unrelated).

          So again what is so wrong in PG asking “I wonder if Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson have something like this in mind for their ‘wellbeing’ budget.”.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  February 9, 2019

            ‘ delving back to mid-2017 on here ‘..oh no!!..not dredging up ..’ancient..history’!

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  February 9, 2019

              You can’t even remember getting proven wrong each day because you ‘dredge up’ your same old discredited arguments each following day…

        • Here you go again trying to link me with Farrar/National games/dirty politics/whatever. That’s getting a bit stale, and again is way off the mark. Repeating something slightly rephrased doesn’t make it right. It’s wrong, and it’s tingeing on dirty smearing.

          Ardern has promised to run a progressive government and to deliver a ‘wellbeing’ focussed budget. An obvious option if she is truly going to reform things is some sort of basic income. I genuinely wondered if they maybe had something like this in mind.

          Ardern has promised big, if she delivers small she will get hammered from the left as much if not more than the right. There are signs of that happening already, going by comments at The Standard after her ‘state of the nation’ speech – that talked big, vaguely.

          Reply
  3. PartisanZ

     /  February 9, 2019

    A Basic Income doesn’t improve unemployment only if you define ‘work’ solely in terms of paid employment ….

    Paid employment being, of course, “the highest ambition of humanity … the very definition of self-fulfillment” – Gareth Morgan & Susan Guthrie ‘The Big Kahuna’

    Reply
  4. PartisanZ

     /  February 9, 2019

    We should have tested neoliberalism in the same way as the Finns have tested this Basic Income ‘experiment’ …

    When farmers in the ‘control group’ started committing suicide we might have given up on the whole fucken thing?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 9, 2019

      The reason a UBI has never been fully implemented in any country even though the concept has been around for decades – it doesn’t work.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  February 9, 2019

        Likewise neoliberalism eh PDB? Jacinda and Winston both said so.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 9, 2019

          More reason to believe the opposite then PZ if Winston/Ardern are saying it. Your obsession with ‘neoliberalism’ being evil is misguided as a mixed market economy like ours is the way to go. Without it we wouldn’t have the ability, or want, to address any problems that arise on the way – human problems that will always be there to some extent as humans are far from perfect.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  February 9, 2019

            Jeez PDB, there’s so many holes in that argument I hardly know where to begin …

            Jacinda and Winston surely have the same right to free speech as everyone else … and I’ll believe them or not as I see fit.

            Please quote where I specifically say neoliberalism is “evil”? Although it’s quite hard to argue otherwise when farmers of all people, the traditional backbone of our economy and symbols of Pakeha culture, committed suicide over the rapidity and rabidity* of its introduction … new term: Roger Rabid** …

            So we never addressed any problems until neoliberalism came along? Fuck, you coulda fooled me!

            “Along the way”? Along the way to WHAT? To ‘paid employment’ being “the highest ambition of humanity … the very definition of self-fulfillment”?

            Along the way to WHAT? To: From each according to their ability … To each according to how highly they can get their ability financially valued by comparison to others?

            Human problems will always be there I agree … but why not address the source of these problems, which is sometimes humans’ believe they are far less perfect or capable of improvement than they actually are …

            I think this has been linked to the idea of ‘free will’ … which we don’t talk about in the same breath [or perhaps the same lifetime?] as we’re applying Darwin’s Law of the Jungle to our grossly distorted mechanism of value and exchange … Money.

            Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  February 9, 2019

        And not just that neoliberalism doesn’t work … but that its never been fully implemented because it doesn’t work … or is neoliberal theory a different category of theory entirely from UBI theory?

        One workable, the other not?

        Maybe the reason a UBI hasn’t been introduced is pure unadulterated cowardice?

        Reply

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