Germany is set to begin its three-year universal basic-income trial to see how the move will affect the economy and well-being of the volunteers in general. The study will begin this week and will involve 120 Germans who will receive a universal basic income of €1,200 a month for three years.

The monthly payment, which is just above Germany’s poverty line, will be funded by about 140,000 people through donations. By the end of the trial period, researchers will compare the experiences of the volunteers with the members of another group of people who will not receive monthly payments from the government.

During the study, the volunteers will fill out questionnaires to see whether the universal basic income has had any major impact on their lives. The idea is for the German government to pay a lump sum of money to each German citizen once a month, regardless of their income or employment status.

While proponents of the universal basic income say the program will help reduce inequality and improve the well-being of citizens by giving them a sense of financial security, those who oppose the program say it is too expensive and will only discourage citizens from going to work.

One of the proponents of the trial, Jurgen Schupp, said the universal basic income trial aims to provide new scientific evidence that will prove the benefits of the program. “The debate about the basic income has so far been like a philosophical salon in good moments and a war of faith in bad times,” he said.

“It is—on both sides—shaped by clichés. Opponents claim that with a basic income people would stop working in order to dull on the couch with fast food and streaming services. Proponents argue that people will continue to do fulfilling work, become more creative and charitable, and save democracy,” he added.  Schupp said through the trial, people will be able to replace such stereotypes with proven knowledge that can lead to a more appropriate debate.

Finland tested the concept of universal basic income from January 2017 to December 2018. After the trial, researchers found that while the income from the government made the volunteers happier, it did not lead to increased employment.   

Angela Merkel Auschwitz German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during the 10th Anniversary of Auschwitz Foundation on December 6, 2019 in Oswiecim, Poland. Merkel is visiting Auschwitz for the first time since she became chancellor 14 years ago. The former Nazi death camp will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation by Soviet forces where about 200 holocaust survivors and several heads of state such as Royals from Netherlands and Spain, President of Germany and Israel among others will be present on January 27, 2020. Omar Marques/Getty Images