Is Universal Basic Income (UBI) the one size-fits-all social policy of the post-pandemic era? / Employment and well-being effects of basic income: evidence from the Finnish basic income experiment

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The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has gained new momentum worldwide as a response to the dire consequences of the covid-19 pandemic. That same call was heard amid the 2008 great recession. However, what we have learned from the previous crisis is that “ad hoc” short-term measures, though often generous, are insufficient to compensate for losses and ensure long lasting socioeconomic security. Social policies are at a crossroads and need to be reformed. Is UBI the best move forward? What are the advantages and drawbacks of casting UBI under the aegis of financialized capitalism?

The Finnish basic income (BI) experiment was obligatory, randomised, nation-wide field experiment with a treatment group and identical control group. There were 2,000 randomly selected unemployed assigned into the treatment group. The treated were somewhat (but not significantly) better than the control group in finding employment. However, there were significant differences in the overall wellbeing. The treated had fewer health and economic problems and experiences of bureaucracy and they were also more confident in their future capabilities and in their possibilities to have influence in their lives.