Finns with Benefits
Not only can basic income make people feel better about their finances, but it can also make them feel better about society, according to a new report from Kela, the government agency behind Finland’s recently wrapped two-year-long basic income experiment.
“Respondents who received a basic income had more trust in other people and in societal institutions” than people who didn’t receive payments, Kela wrote in the report — a finding that suggests basic income may lead to increased trust in police, politicians, and similar groups.
Trust the Police
In the report, Kela describes how it surveyed the 2,000 unemployed Finns receiving a no-strings-attached monthly payment, asking them to rate their trust in various entities on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 signifying no trust at all and 10 meaning complete trust.
When they compared these ratings against a control group, they found that the people receiving the payments reported a higher level of trust in other people, politicians, political parties, courts, and the police.
The difference in trust between the groups wasn’t huge — the basic income group typically rated their trust between .3 and .5 points higher — but it was consistent.
Given that past research has shown that trust is an essential component of a healthy society, this finding suggests that basic income has the potential to not only help individuals thrive, but society as well.
More on basic income: Study: Universal Basic Income Won’t Make People Work Less