The BIEN website gives a good breakdown about what actually will happen in Finland, written by Vito Laterza:

“The government has set aside 20 million euros for two years for the experiment. There are several options that the working group will consider. The first is a full basic income, where the amount paid to participants would be high enough to replace “almost all insurance-based benefits”, hence a significant monthly sum. As in other European welfare states, Finland has an insurance system where workers receive their unemployment and pension benefits from sector-specific funds. These are usually higher than the basic benefits administered to welfare beneficiaries regardless of their occupational status. The figure of 800 euros per month circulated by many news outlets is to be read as a possibility under this option, rather than anything set in stone.

The second option is a partial basic income that would replace basic benefits, but leave intact almost all existing insurance-based benefits. The presentation notes that, in this case, the monthly sum should not be lower than the existing level of basic benefits, which is around 550 euros per month. The same figure was reported in several media without the appropriate context.

A third option is that of a negative income tax, where income transfers are made through the taxation system. Other models might also be considered, including the option of a participation income given to unemployed people as an incentive to seek additional income – this alternative is discussed by Kangas himself and Jan Otto Andersson in a 2002 paper.

The size of the sample and the geographical areas covered are other key topics to be addressed. According to Kela, the next step will be the delivery of a review of available evidence from universal basic income models tested in other countries, which will be presented to government in spring 2016. In a recent survey carried out by Kela, nearly 70% of respondents support the idea of a universal basic income, and most of them think it should be set at around 1000 euros per month.”

Photo by stanjourdan

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