Finland’s basic income program that drew international attention is coming to an end, the Finnish government announced Tuesday.
The pilot program that paid about 2,000 randomly-chosen unemployed Finnish people a monthly check of €560 ($685) will stop by the end of the year, the BBC reports.
As welfare programs mourned the end of the experiment, the Finnish government denied claims the program was unsuccessful, and social affairs official Miska Simanainen said it was actually “proceeding as planned,” The Independentreports.
The program, which started January 2017, was the first of its kind in Europe. The government hoped the extra money would fuel the economy and innovation. The unemployment rate in Finland exceeds 8%. By comparison, the U.S. has an unemployment rate of 4.1%, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A study published in February by the think tank Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the country’s income tax must increase by almost 30% to fund basic income, and instead suggested a universal credit system as a better solution.
However, basic income has a fair share of supporters around the world, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Y Combinator President Sam Altman and eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg praised the idea in a Facebook post about Alaska’s Permanent Fund, which pools the state’s oil revenue and pays out cash dividends to eligible Alaskans.
The Finnish government plans to release data from the basic income program in late 2019, BBC reports.