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Researching qualitatively life on basic income

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Helena Blomberg & Christian Kroll: Researching qualitatively life on basic income. Experimenting with Income Support in the Netherlands. Presentation at seminar "Finnish Basic Income Experiment – Science meets social security reform" in Kela 4.4.2019.

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Researching qualitatively life on basic income

  1. 1. HELENA BLOMBERG, CHRISTIAN KROLL 1 Researching qualitatively life on basic income
  2. 2. LIFE ON BASIC INCOME – A QUALITATIVE INTERVIEW STUDY • An independent part of the evaluation of the basic income (BI) experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki (UH). • Deals with BI experiment participants’ subjective experiences and thoughts • An invitation to participate in the interview study was sent to 1000 (out of circa 2000) BI experiment participants. • The invitation by the UH research team was sent via the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) • Responses containing written consent to participate were sent by mail directly to the UH research team • Participants’ identity or interview data are not shared with other parties of the evaluation project (strong guarantee of anonymity) 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 2
  3. 3. REFLECTIONS ON EARLIER EXPERIMENT EVALUATIONS “We often know what goes in and what comes out, but it is never clear what was actually going on in between” (Calnitsky “more normal than welfare”: the Mincome experiment, stigma and community experience, Canadian Review of Sociology, 2016,28) “The labor supply results are important but tell us little about the actual people populating these studies, how they understood the program, how it impacted on their experience of community life, and whether participation came with social- psychological costs.” (Calnitsky ibid., 2016) 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 3
  4. 4. OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERVIEW STUDY • The objective of this interview study is to provide an additional perspective on effects of the basic income experiment on participants’ employability, well-being and life in general, by focusing on participants’ subjective experiences and views. • In-depth, thematic interviews are a means for collecting comprehensive and versatile information on the lived experiences of receiving a basic income under the conditions provided by the experiment • Provides possibilities to relate personal experiences of the experiment period to participants’ overall life situations, also before and after the experiment, as well as to their views and perceptions more generally. • The aim has been to conduct in-depth interviews with at least circa 50 experiment BI participants 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 4
  5. 5. HOW IS THE STUDY CONDUCTED? • Those invited who wished to participate in interviews, were asked to return a signed form provided in the invitation letter in a franked letter by 28 February 2019. • Since then, a member of the University of Helsinki’s research group has been contacting willing BI participants and is making practical arrangements for conducting interviews. • Interviews made so far have generally lasted about 1-2 hours. The interviewees do not need to prepare for the interviews on forehand. • Interview questions focus on interviewees’ well-being, employment and general life situation before, during and after the experiment. • In addition, the interviewees are asked about their experiences regarding the experiment itself. • Interviews take place either in respondent’s homes or in nearby quiet public spaces suitable for the purpose. 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 5
  6. 6. ON DATA AND PARTICIPATION • The information letter was sent to BI participants in January 2019. By the 28.2.2019 (the deadline for responding), 106 persons (ca 10% of the sample) had returned a form with a written consent to participate. • This may be considered a large interest in participating, considering the fairly complicated and time-consuming process: returning a written consent by mail, waiting to be contacted by phone to make arrangements for the interview, as well as taking the time for the interview itself (said in the invitation to take approx 1-2 hours). • So far, 42 interviews have been conducted, in various parts of the country, in both rural and urban settings • Interviewing is continuing during spring 2019 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 6
  7. 7. ON DATA AND PARTICIPATION (2) • The aim when planning interviews is to capture as versatile a perspective on participation in the BI experiment as possible, and to include participants in various life- situations and georaphical settings. • The approach of the interview study seems to have been well received: - the interest in respondents’ own experiences and evaluations, and their life situations more generally has commonly been perceived as dignifying - the independent role of this sub-study in relation to the experiment itself has been considered important - it has been perceived important to be able to give one’s own account regarding experiment participation, thus providing additional perspectives to those presented by politicians and the media 04/04/2019Presentation Name / Firstname Lastname 7