Chicago plans $1,000/month handouts, no strings attached… Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment

Mayoral task force recommends paying struggling Chicagoans $1,000 a month

Some Chicago families could start collecting a $1,000 check every month with no strings attached. That’s the new proposal from a task force created by Mayor Emanuel.

The idea is to break the cycle of poverty. The pilot program would give 1,000 struggling Chicagoans $1,000 a month.


Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment

* Two-year trial of basic income ended last month

* Little impact on employment but boost to wellbeing

* Experiment watched as govts seek to reform welfare (Adds comment from trial’s economist, OECD view)

By Anne Kauranen

HELSINKI, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

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