The 2,000 unemployed Finns who received a citizen’s salary for one year received increased prosperity, but are still without work.
In January 2017, the Finnish authorities started a project where 2,000 unemployed people would receive 560 euros tax-free without obligations.
Researchers who followed the group have since looked at whether it is easier to get a job with a citizen’s salary than by receiving traditional benefits such as unemployed, who disappear once a person starts making money. Many of those who receive civilian wages still stand without work.
“The recipients of civil wages were no better or worse than the control group to find work in the open labor market,” says a research coordinator at the Labor Institute for Economic Research in a statement.
Although the citizen’s salary did not contribute to increased employment in society, the non-binding pay contributed to health.
“The recipients of citizen pay had less stress symptoms, as well as less difficulty concentrating and less health problems than the control group,” says research leader Minna Ylikanno at the Finnish welfare authority Kela.
Ylikanno adds that the recipients also had more faith in the future and on their own ability to influence social problems.
The project was supposed to end in December this year, but the government in Finland stopped granting the project in 2018, which meant that it had to be closed in December last year. The researchers behind the project therefore emphasize that the results are preliminary and are only about the first of two years of the study.
Social Minister Pirkko Mattila says the government does not plan to make the civil pay scheme permanent, but says they will use the results from the project when they are to reform the welfare system. He believes that the project has been successful.
The OECD has previously criticized the project because they believe the sum of 560 euros is not economically viable and can lead far more people into poverty.