Results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment

Initial results were presented on the 8th February. A video of the presentation of preliminary results, with an English translation, can be found here. Further details of the preliminary results can be found here

Information about the evaluation of the pilot project can be found here

A few of the results: The pilot project group experienced better wellbeing, less stress, more trust in others, more trust in their futures, and more trust in politicians, than individuals in the control group. The Basic Income was experienced as a more adequate income in the pilot group than in the control group, even though the Basic Income was at the same level as the means-tested benefit received by the control group. During the first year there was almost no effect on employment.

A seminar on the 4th April gave more detail on wellbeing effects, and also discussed employment effects. The new results show that at the end of the first year there was a statistically insignificant upswing in employment activity among those who received the Citizen’s Basic Income compared to the control group. We await the second year’s results to see whether the upswing continued. A video of the seminar on the 4th April  can be found here, the slides here, a summary of the results here, and a short video that summarises the results here.


The Guardian published a useful article about the preliminary results: Free money wouldn’t make people lazy – but it could revolutionise work, by Anna Dent.  (But please note: The Ontario experiment mentioned in the article was not a Citizen’s Basic Income pilot project, whereas the Finnish experiment was one. Ontario was experimenting with a household-based and means-tested benefit, whereas Finland was experimenting with an individual and unconditional income. It is unfortunate that Ontario called its experiment a ‘Basic Income’ experiment. This has led  journalists to think that it was one.)

And the Adam Smith Institute published an article on the preliminary results by Otto Lehto: Schrödinger’s Basic Income: What does the Finnish UBI experiment really show? This article references additional articles in the New Scientist and The Independent.


Our comment on the early results from Finland

The theory tells us that a Citizen’s Basic Income could have two opposite effects. Because it would not be withdrawn as earned incomes rose, additional earned income would result in more additional disposable income than would be the case with means-tested benefits, which are withdrawn as earned income rises. This should incentivise paid employment. On the other hand: a secure income with no work tests attached might enable some individuals with low living costs to reduce hours of employment. The fact that during its first year the Finnish experiment saw almost no change in paid employment can therefore be interpreted in two different directions: 1. It did not result in the additional employment that we might have expected; 2. It did not result in the reduced employment that we might have expected.