Informations and abstract
Keywords: Social benefits, Italian minimum income, income-based politics, North/South divide, populism
The relevance of minimum income schemes increased in European welfare politics during the last 20 years. Mainstream studies assessed how the effects of this social benefit, both by the sides of take-up and social coverage, are mainly affected by the way policies drew up targeting, eligibility and benefits’ adequacy. Towards south European systems, late comers in improving this type of cash benefit, also politics seems to matter, as minimum income institutionalizes both a redistributive and constitutive policy. Starting from this frame, the article deals with the minimum income scheme (Reddito di Cittadinanza-RDC) recently approved in Italy. After a first period of its implementation, did this benefit contribute «defeating absolute poverty», as the policymaker promised? What’s been the policy efficacy by the sides of take-up and coverage, and which target of social assistance demand it matched, also considering the North/South divide? And, overall, did the policy design influence the effects and outcomes of this social benefit? The study answers these questions basing on a quantitative analysis of RDC’s applications and beneficiaries at the national and provincial levels during the first period of implementation, integrated by an OLS regression model. It documents that choices of policymaker affected the outcomes of RDC, by the sides of the quantity and type of social demand reached. Findings also suggest some interesting outlook for policy analysis, especially about the social effects of a «hybrid» politics of minimum income.