Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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In Finland, the government buries its universal income

The conservatives in power do not wish to prolong the experiment launched in 2017 on the grounds that it does not facilitate the resumption of a job significantly.

The program, on the other hand, had an effect on the well-being of the beneficiaries.

This is not going to please the defenders of universal basic income, in France or Italy, where the 5 Stars Movement has integrated this mechanism into the 2019 budget. The Finnish Conservative government, the first to experiment with it, has just renounce.

From June 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018, two thousand unemployed received € 560 each month without any consideration. Pole that they could cumulate with family allowances and incomes in case of resumption of employment. But the conclusion is clear: the social mechanism may have been effective in improving the well-being and health status of the beneficiaries, but not for reintegration into the labor market.

In Italy, the citizen income project continues to shrink

Good for stress, not for the job

From a methodological point of view, the Labor Institute for Economic Research compared the beneficiaries' occupational integration rates with a control group that remained in the classical system. As a result, the proportion of people who found a job was 43.7% with universal income, compared with 42.85% without. A gain too small to go further, says Ohto Kanninen, head of research at the Institute. "Basic income recipients were neither better nor worse than the control group"he concluded.

Universal income, an attractive idea and many questions

In fact, the benefits of the measure are not economic: 55% of the participants in the experiment reported feeling in good or very good health, compared to 46% in the control group. Recipients also reported lower stress levels (17%) than control group members (25%).

Not enough to convince the current majority to continue the adventure. Friday, February 8, the chopper fell. Minister of Social Affairs Pirkko Mattila stressed that Finland has no intention of introducing a universal basic income. On the other hand, the conclusions of this study "Reforming our social insurance model, the next major reform"she said.

Think alternatives

The project is unlikely to be relaunched by the opposition, even in the legislative elections of 14 April 2019. The main parties, from the Social Democrats to the Conservatives and the centrists, have given up the basic income. Only the Greens and the left will want to prolong the experience.

In France, several departments ask to test a basic income

Over the past four years, Finland has been through a long period of crisis that has pushed unemployment up (up to 9.4% in 2015). The upturn is now at the rendezvous, with the unemployment rate going back below the 7% mark, but the system has shown its weaknesses. Jobseekers lose their benefits in proportion to their activity, including in the case of very short and low-paying contracts. Rather than rely on a universal income to encourage the maintenance of activity, the right would prefer to develop alternatives, such as tax breaks.

Jean-Baptiste François



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