Chiara Saraceno

Towards a minimum income for the poor

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Italy is finally moving towards the introduction of a minimum income provision for the poor. The 2016 stability law mandated government to prepare an anti-poverty plan including a) a reform of existing social assistance measures; b) an income support measure combined with activation projects. During the transition period necessary to develop this plan, the previously limited experiment with a «social card» has been extended to the entire nation. This note highlights some of the critical features of the two measures. These features risk severely undermining the measures' moves towards greater universalism, hence their potentially disruptive discontinuity in the Italian welfare state. One of the most crucial shortcomings is severe underfunding that opens the way to the strengthening of the categorical distinctions among the poor already embodied in the existing temporary measure targeted to households with dependent children. It also constrains potential access to the measure continuously during the year.


  • Poverty
  • Minimum Income
  • Activation
  • Categorization
  • Universalism


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