German researchers will give 120 people €1,200 a month for three years to see how their behaviour changes, after a study in Finland found that a similar experiment did not encourage unemployed Finns to find work.
Initiated on Tuesday, researchers began the process of opening applications for Germany’s long-term study on universal basic income (UBI), where 120 people will receive €1,200 (£1,080/$1,400) regardless of employment status or financial means.
A control group of 1,380 people in comparable life situations will not be given any money but will be monitored to examine how the UBI test subjects’ behaviour change over time. The My Basic Income association backed the project, which is funded by private donors.
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) researcher Jürgen Schupp told Der Spiegel on Tuesday that the initiative was not merely an experiment in whether free money makes Germans happy.
“Happiness research has long since proven that more money increases well-being. But we want to find out a lot more: To what extent does such a reliable, unconditional flow of money affect people’s attitudes and behaviour — in relevant areas of life? How do, for example, professional life, daily structure, commitment, diet, or relationships change? And how does that differ depending on age, area of residence, other earnings and so on? That’s a lot of exciting and so far unanswered questions,” Mr Schupp said.