Can a jobless pay packet work?

Juhana Vartiainen on a Finnish trial to see the effects of a citizen’s salary

The World Today
Published 9 February 2017 Updated 24 November 2020 2 minute READ

Juhana Vartiainen

Former head, Finland’s National Institute for Economic Research and an MP for the National Coalition Party

Finland has initiated a pilot social experiment whereby a randomly selected group of 2,000 unemployed individuals are entitled to a constant and non-conditional monthly ‘basic income’ of 560 euros (£480).

That payment replaces the usual unemployment benefit conditional on not working. Thus, the selected group of individuals, or ‘treatment group’ as scholars say, can take on paid work, and the payment of 560 euros is not affected.

The goal of the experiment is to gather information on the behavioural response of the treatment group. After two years, researchers will be able to analyze data on the employment status, worked hours and earnings of this group and compare its behaviour with that of other unemployed individuals.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.