Universal Basic Income: Does any country have UBI?

Dan Hurt

June 20, 2023

Universal Basic Income


In recent years, the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) has gained significant attention and sparked discussions across the globe. This article aims to delve into the question, “Does any country have UBI?” and explore the current UBI implementation worldwide. By examining various countries and their approaches to UBI, we can gain insights into this progressive idea’s potential benefits and challenges.

Does any country have UBI?

Finland’s Pioneering Experiment

Finland is one of the countries that have conducted a famous UBI experiment. From 2017 to 2018, the Finnish government implemented a pilot program called the Basic Income Experiment. This initiative provided a monthly payment to a randomly selected group of unemployed individuals with no conditions attached. The experiment aimed to assess the effects of UBI on employment, social security, and overall well-being.

Policymakers closely watched the results of the Finnish experiment economists, and researchers worldwide. While the experiment showed some positive outcomes, such as reduced stress levels and improved trust in social institutions, it did not significantly increase employment rates. Despite the experiment’s conclusion, Finland must implement UBI nationally fully.

Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend

When discussing UBI, mentioning the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in Alaska, United States, is crucial. Although not a traditional UBI program, the PFD shares similarities with the concept. The PFD is a yearly payment distributed to all eligible Alaskan residents, funded through oil revenues.

The PFD demonstrates how a form of basic income can be implemented within a specific region or state. It has been instrumental in reducing poverty rates and contributing to economic stability in Alaska. However, it’s important to note that the PFD is only sometimes applicable throughout the country.

Experiments and Trials in Other Countries

While full-fledged UBI programs are yet to be adopted at a national level, various countries have initiated experiments, trials, or pilot programs to explore the potential of UBI. Some notable examples include:

Canada’s Ontario Basic Income Pilot

In 2017, the Canadian province of Ontario launched the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, providing a basic income to eligible participants. The program aimed to evaluate the impact of UBI on poverty reduction, health outcomes, and employment rates. Unfortunately, the pilot program was prematurely canceled in 2018, hindering the collection of conclusive data.

Spain’s Minimum Income Scheme

Spain implemented a minimum income scheme called Ingreso Mínimo Vital in 2020. Although not a UBI program, it targets vulnerable households with a guaranteed minimum income. The scheme’s primary objective is to alleviate poverty and improve social inclusion, particularly in response to the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s Universal Basic Income Experiment

Sikkim conducted a UBI experiment in India called the Sikkim Universal Basic Income Experiment (SUBE) in 2019. This trial program aimed to assess UBI’s feasibility and potential impact in an Indian context. While the experiment generated valuable insights, there has yet to be widespread adoption of UBI nationwide.


While no country has fully implemented UBI on a national scale, several countries have conducted experiments, trials, or implemented similar programs to explore the potential benefits and challenges of UBI. Finland’s Basic Income Experiment, Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, and various initiatives in Canada, Spain, and India showcase the ongoing exploration and discussion surrounding UBI.

The concept of UBI continues to intrigue policymakers, economists, and citizens alike. By analyzing the experiences and outcomes of these experiments, we can continue to refine our understanding of UBI’s potential and work toward creating a more equitable and secure future for all.