How Finns Cope

The research project How Finns Cope (SUSE) analyses the standard of living and the quality and way of life of Finns within the scope of last-resort security. The project is implemented in two phases, the first of which covers the years 2015–2016 and the second the years 2016–2017. The project is led by Professor Juho Saari, D.Soc.Sc., and it includes researchers from the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, the University of Eastern Finland and Statistics Finland. Four pro gradu theses have also been written during the project.

The research questions for the first stage are:

What is the status of the Finnish society and welfare state when assessed from the point of view of the welfare state’s financial crisis, the dynamic that encourages the use of the welfare state’s benefits and services, and the interaction between the cuts made by Sipilä’s Government and last-resort security?

How do researchers, citizens, candidates running for Parliament and Members of Parliament see the mechanisms between the welfare state and dependency on social security?

Incentive policy: How have the Finnish public authorities taken dependency on social security into account while reforming last-resort social security?

How have the population level and situation in life of the people living on last-resort social security changed from 2007 to 2013? To what extent do personal experience of poverty and social status affect the belief systems of Finns and further the poverty maps?

How do Finns and people living on last-resort social security interpret the situation in life of people living on last-resort social security, and what kind of moral arguments does living on last-resort social security raise?

How do Finns show solidarity towards people standing in bread queues and assess the deservingness of people in bread queues? The key mechanism is defining the limits of solidarity. How do Finnish social service professionals assess the prevalence of dependence on social security, client types, and the sufficiency and effectiveness of services?

How do the long-term social security clients themselves assess the factors affecting the dependence on social security becoming prolonged?

The results will be reported in a peer-reviewed book published in the autumn of 2016. It utilises the extensive poverty survey Suuri köyhyyskysely conducted in cooperation with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper as well as several quantitative and qualitative materials.

The project has been funded by a grant from KWRC, the WEBE and MINDWAVES projects led by Juho Saari and funded by the Academy of Finland, and the project Two Finlands – Is Inequality Increasing? (KASU, 2015–2017) led by Juho Saari and funded by the Kone Foundation, as well as the project led by Professor Mikko Niemelä and funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC), Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity (TITA, 2015–2017).

The second phase of the SUSE project tackles the interface between the social service system and the client and investigates how it affects the effectiveness of services in terms of how the clients seek training and education, rehabilitation, and practical training.