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Finland 'free money' trial did not spur unemployed to find work, researchers say

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Finland 'free money' trial did not spur unemployed to find work, researchers say
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A two-year guaranteed basic income trial in Finland failed to spur the unemployed to work more and earn more as was hoped, according to researchers.

The country's government published the first findings from the trial, which ended a month ago, on Friday.

During the experiment, 2,000 unemployed Finns became the first Europeans to receive a monthly pay cheque from the state, regardless of whether they found work or not.

They were given €560 tax-free from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2018.

"The basic income experiment did not increase the employment of participants during the first trial year," Kela, the government agency in charge of benefits, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said in a statement.

However, those who received the basic income "felt better at the end of the experiment than those in the control group."

Results study were preliminary and only based on the first year of the experiment, so no final conclusions could be drawn from them, the authorities added.

The two-year trial in Finland was hailed as a progressive step towards a system that many thought could stamp out inequality.

Advocates, including the likes of billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, have spoken out in favour of a universal basic income as a possible solution to widespread unemployment

"I think we'll end up doing universal basic income," said Tesla CEO Musk in an interview with CNBC in November. "It's going to be necessary," he added.

The results of the study were presented at a seminar on Friday — you can watch the live stream of the event in the above video player.