Paolo Barbieri, Giorgio Cutuli, Marco Tosi

Families, labour market and social risks. Childbirth and the risk of poverty among Italian households

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: JEL Classification: I30 - Welfare and Poverty; J42 - Segmented Labor Markets; J12 - Family formation and structure; J13 - Fertility, Family Planning, Child Care, Children, Youth.

Child poverty and intergenerational transmission of social risks are features of the increase of social inequality occurred in the last two decades. In this paper, we study how in a sub-protective welfare model, as the Italian one, the households may enter poverty in concomitance with a child birth. Italian welfare state plays a reduced role in protecting families and their children against poverty, with limited money transfers and scarce childcare services. Furthermore, the process of labour market flexibilization «at the margins» produced a strong labour market segmentation, which hits again young people and young, newly formed families. In this regard, we ask firstly whether a child birth increase the probabilities of entering poverty; secondly, if the risk of being poor in concomitance of the birth of a child is higher among temporary workers' households. Using longitudinal IT-Silc data (2004-2007) and applying Random Effects logit models and statistical matching, we show that families with new-born babies face higher poverty risks (threshold at 60% of median income) than their counterpart, with possibly negative consequences on future children's life chances. Our empirical evidence shows that in Italy labour marker precariousness and economic poverty represent quite often two sides of the same coin: the Italian welfare state provides young households with no sufficient resources to cope with the child birth event, thus failing to prevent the risk of entering poverty with the parallel deepening in intergenerational transmission of social and economic risks.

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