Opening Plenary

Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 9.40 am – 10.55 am
Location: Leighton Hall (ground floor)
Chair: Professor Peter Saunders, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Speaker(s): Professor Olli Kangas, Academy of Finland and University of Turku

Olli Kangas will describe the political process behind the making of the Finnish basic income (BI) experiment, and some preliminary results.

The Finnish BI experiment ran for two years (2017–2018). It was based on a nation-wide random sampling of people (175,000) who were receiving basic unemployment benefits (BUB) from the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela). In the experiment, there were two groups: a “treatment group” (TG) of 2,000 unemployed people, who were given the BI, and a “control group” (CG), consisting of the rest of the unemployed people. Participation in the TG was mandatory. The level of the BI was €560 per month. BI was unconditional and exempted from taxation, and it was not reduced by income from employment.

The results from register studies do not display any major employment effects for the better or the worse. The BI neither made people more enterprising, nor made them lazier. Results from the survey display significant differences between the two groups in regards to wellbeing. People from the TG reported significantly higher values for life-satisfaction and significantly less economic and mental stress. They were more confident about their future, possibilities to steer their lives and had less negative experiences with bureaucracy.