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Finnish basic income trial: Creates happiness, but not jobs

Finnish basic income trial: Creates happiness, but not jobs

February 9th, 2019 by Associated Press in International News

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—A nationwide experiment with basic income in Finland has not increased employment among those participating in the two-year trial, but their general well-being seems to have increased, a report said Friday.

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, or Kela, said "it was not yet possible to draw any firm conclusions" from the first half of the experiment, where about 2,000 randomly selected, unemployed people aged 25-58 got tax-free income of 560 euros ($636) a month with no questions asked.

Finland is looking into ways to reshape its social security system and became in January 2017 the first European country to launch the trial, which will end in 2020.

Critics say universal basic income reduces incentives for people to look for work.

In the Finnish experiment, the basic income is below what unemployment benefits pay, which is 32.40 euros a day, or almost 1,000 euros ($1,135) a month—subject to income tax of about 30 percent. The basic income is tax free, but barely enough to live on for someone paying rent.

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