Keywords: Reddito di Cittadinanza, North-South gap, poverty, socio-economic differences, Italy.
This paper aims to understand how the geographical incidence of beneficiaries of the citizens’ income scheme «Reddito di Cittadinanza» (RdC) is correlated to local features and whether the North- South gap in beneficiaries stems from socio-economic differences between the two areas. We show that, despite large differences in the incidence of beneficiaries among the municipal population (6% in the South vs. 2% in the North), almost half of the gap is explained by poverty indicators and by local labour markets with high unemployment and low education. The paper also studies the relation at municipality level between the incidence of RdC and some measures of social capital largely used in the economic literature. Once we control for socio-demographic characteristics and poverty, we find a robust negative correlation between the incidence of beneficiaries and social capital. This result holds true both for North and South subpopulations. Furthermore, a negative relationship is also found when we consider as outcome variable the incidence of revocations and rejections of the benefit on municipal population.