Basic income makes people happier

A basic income increases people's sense of well-being but doesn't increase employment. These are the preliminary results of a trial in Finland released last week by researchers. In the trial 2,000 randomly selected individuals received 560 euros tax-free over a period of two years, irrespective of whether they worked or not. What conclusions can be drawn from the experiment?

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Kauppalehti (FI) /

Finland can't afford it

The introduction of a basic income would be too costly for Finland, Kauppalehti concludes:

“The basic income did not lead to a significant increase in employment. Compared to the reference group the increase was just half a day. However, it did substantially improve the sense of well-being. According to the telephone survey test subjects were less stressed in comparison and had fewer mood and concentration problems and more confidence in other people and in the future. ... The improvement in well-being resulting from the experiment should by no means be undervalued. It is an important factor for people's general performance. ... However, boosting well-being with a basic income is too expensive for Finland.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

A new system needed

The results of the experiment should be taken into account in the reform of the social welfare system, Helsingin Sanomat demands:

“All parties consider a social security reform necessary. This task must be achieved in the next legislative period. Instead of the basic income, a model should be selected that is based to a certain extent on quid pro quo but simpler. ... The basic income is, however, still an alternative that should be assessed. In addition, the results of the experiment that ended at the end of last year should be used for the social security reform. According to the first results published on Friday the basic income didn't increase employment, but it did increase the sense of well-being. The latter is also a significant result.”