Universal basic income is an idea that has been around the world for a long time, with many famous people advocating for it in some form or another. One of the most recent influencers is Elon Musk, billionaire and founder of Tesla, who has been stating on Twitter his pro-UBI stance. This is why many people were interested when the national government of Finland announced it would be conducting trials on universal basic income (UBI) to see if it would be an effective support system for its people. The trial started in early 2017 and finished in 2019, with its results being published later on.
Many news organisations and people have reported on this already. But there has been a mixed response, with some saying that it is a failure whilst others say it has been a success, the rest having mixed views on it. However, what were the full results of the UBI trials and does it support UBI or delegitimize it?
Basic details of the trial
When it comes to the idea of UBI being used within the trial, the report states that 2000 participants will receive a monthly payment of $650 dollars with no strings attached or repayment required over a 24 month period. The trials were set up to evaluate whether or not implementing a UBI would improve economic factors such as increasing jobs, business creation or productivity of the people involved within the trial.
The first part of the findings were related to the economic factors;
- Jobs showed little to no increase.
- No businesses were created
- There was a small increase in productivity with some of the participants
- A small increase in the number of promotions and pay rises
Some of the participants did show improvements in their lives not relating to economic factors;
- An increase in happiness
- Improvement in overall mental health
- Decrease in stress
- Improvement in physical health
The findings have been seen as a mixed result with the original goal of collecting data to see if UBI could be an effective programme which would improve a country’s modern day economics not being confirmed. However the trials have provided a lot of information on other matters such as with how people react when given free money and social data to information on matters of health.
The trial provided other data which related to matters of costing; participation costs where money was given to people stayed as predicted but the administration costs were higher than predicted with side notes in the report stating that administrative costs could be much higher on a national scale than most advocates for UBI predicted.