Not only can basic income make people feel better about their finances, but it can also make them feel better about society, according to a new report from Kela, the government agency behind Finland’s recently wrapped two-year-long basic income experiment.
“Respondents who received a basic income had more trust in other people and in societal institutions” than people who didn’t receive payments, Kela wrote in the report — a finding that suggests basic income may lead to increased trust in police, politicians, and similar groups.
In the report, Kela describes how it surveyed the 2,000 unemployed Finns receiving a no-strings-attached monthly payment, asking them to rate their trust in various entities on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 signifying no trust at all and 10 meaning complete trust.
When they compared these ratings against a control group, they found that the people receiving the payments reported a higher level of trust in other people, politicians, political parties, courts, and the police.
The difference in trust between the groups wasn’t huge — the basic income group typically rated their trust between .3 and .5 points higher — but it was consistent.
Given that past research has shown that trust is an essential component of a healthy society, this finding suggests that basic income has the potential to not only help individuals thrive, but society as well.
More on basic income: Study: Universal Basic Income Won’t Make People Work Less