The positive effects of a basic income

University of College Cork Ireland

Analysis: preliminary findings from Finland's experiment with basic income is largely encouraging for advocates of the scheme.

In a previous piece for RTÉ Brainstorm, I discussed the idea of basic income. The piece included data from the European Social Survey which indicated that well over 50% of the Irish population were in favour of the introduction of a basic income here.

Done right, basic income has the potential to (i) lift people out of poverty, (ii) promote social cohesion and remove stigma, (iii) allow people opportunities for self-development through things education and voluntary work and (iv) allow people the opportunity to choose to engage in meaningful work.

With this is mind, it is worth drilling into what a basic income could actually do and see what the data tells us by looking at an example of a country where the concept has been tested.

The Finnish experiment

Finland provides the most heavily publicised and well-known example of a basic income experiment in recent years. This came on the back of the Finnish government's 2015 commitment to begin developing a more scientific and experimental approach to the design and implementation of public policy that attempts to eschew politics and ideology in favour of an ethos of establishing what works.

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