May 03, 2018
Finland's take on universal income
Introducing a universal basic income (UBI) has been one of the big promises of Five Star in Italy. Finland, which experimented with a trial version of a UBI, has now decided against it. Petteri Orpo, the finance minister, told the FT that he was not a fan of the universal income anyway, but was open to the results of the trial. Orpo is the leader of the centre-right National Coalition party, which is leading the polls for next year's parliamentary elections. If he were to win the next elections, UBI would probably not get another chance.
In the trial, selected unemployed people were given €560 per month without any conditions on what they needed to do to get the money. This version of UBI was widely criticised as poorly designed and costly to implement, though participants reported that it reduced the stress of dealing with the administration. Finland is also using activation policies, that is monetary incentives for the unemployed to work, similarly to Denmark though in a softer version. It seems that Orpo is much more a fan of the latter type of policies, though it is not clear whether they really lead people to pick up work since half of the unemployed took the hit on unemployment benefits instead.