Germany Trials Universal Income and Gives €1,200 to 120 People to Test its effectiveness

Germany is currently planning a pilot test to apply a basic universal income scheme giving 120 people €1,200 per month – and they can spend it on anything they want.

THE German pilot study will initially see 120 people handed the monthly sum of €1,200 (£1,085). They will then be monitored to see how or if it changes their social patterns and leisure time.

Researcher Jurgen Schupp, who is leading the ‘My Basic Income’ project at the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research, said he wanted to discover how a “reliable, unconditional flow of money affects people’s attitudes and behaviour.”

Schupp said: “Opponents claim that with a basic income people would stop working in order to lie on the couch with fast food and streaming services.”

He went on to say: “Proponents argue that people will continue to do fulfilling work, become more creative and charitable, and save democracy. We can improve this [debate] if we replace these stereotypes with empirically proven knowledge.”

The idea is that the 120 beneficiaries of the scheme will be studied, initially, against a comparison group of 1,380 people who do not receive any cash payments, to monitor lifestyle changes and social habits.

However, the academics behind the study want to find one million applicants for wider participation by this November. From that group, 1,500 people will then be selected for a much longer three-year income experiment.

A recent Finnish basic income study revealed some interesting facts.

“Those in the test group experienced significantly fewer problems related to health, stress and ability to concentrate than those in the control group,” the researchers wrote. “Those in the test group were also considerably more confident in their own future and their ability to influence societal issues than the control group.”

With improvements seen in those areas in just a year, it’s clear that more investigation is needed before final conclusions can be drawn, with the preliminary results offering something for advocates and critics of basic income alike.

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Tony Winterburn

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