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Here’s What Happened When Finland Awarded People $640 A Month

By Parker Diakite

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For the last two years, government officials in Finland awarded 2,000 people a monthly sum €560 ($640) with no strings attached.

Those selected for Finland’s universal basic income trial, which launched in 2017, were chosen randomly from a pool of 175,000 unemployed individuals in the country, ages 25 to 68.

The trial cost the government approximately $22.7 million and was designed and administered by the country’s social insurance agency, Kela. One goal of the experiment was to help the country assess how to respond to the changing nature of work.  The experiment also aimed to analyze how to get people back in the labor markets given the country’s 8 percent unemployment rate, as reported in HuffPost.

The trial ended this past December, and while final results will not be available until 2020, preliminary results were revealed in early February.

There were no significant changes to the country’s unemployment rate during the first year of the trial, but there were some changes in overall health.

There 2,000 trial participants were all surveyed along with 5,000 people in a control group. According to the survey, at the end of the experiment, the recipients of a basic income perceived their wellbeing as being better than did those in the control group. The recipients of a basic income had fewer stress symptoms as well as fewer difficulties to concentrate and fewer health problems than the control group. They also became more confident in their future and in their ability to influence societal issues.

“Constant stress and financial stress for the long term – it’s unbearable. And when we give money to people once a month they know what they are going to get,” Minna Ylikännö, senior researcher at Kela, told HuffPost. “It was just €560 a month, but it gives you certainty, and certainty about the future is always a fundamental thing about well being.”

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