Basic income would give everyone a base amount of money every month, regardless of employment status. A common criticism: without an incentive, people would work less.
But new research shows that those worries might be unfounded. A two-year study in Finland found that a randomly selected group of people who received a sum of money from the government every month worked no less than a control group — bolstering the case for a basic income as the world economy transitions to greater automation.
The Basic Income Experiment Evaluation Project, run by the Finnish government and a number of local universities and think tanks, concluded in December 2018.
Now the preliminary results are in: in 2017, a randomly-selected group of 2000 Finns who received 56o euros (about $635) worked on average the same amount as compared to a control group that didn’t receive any funds.
The study did find some differences between the two groups. Since the trial group’s basic income replaced unemployment benefits, for instance, the control group ended up receiving less “social assistance and sickness allowance,” the official report reads.
But that might not necessarily be a bad sign — being guaranteed an income seems to make people less worried about money. That means less stress and healthier lives — and doesn’t seem to affect productivity.
“Those in the test group experienced significantly fewer problems related to health, stress and ability to concentrate than those in the control group,” concludes the report. ” According to the results, those in the test group were also considerably more confident in their own future and their ability to influence societal issues than the control group.”
READ MORE: Universal income study finds money for nothing won’t make us work less [New Scientist]
More on universal basic income: Universal Basic Income: UBI Pilot Programs Around the World