Keywords: General Welfare, Well-Being; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs.
This paper focuses on company-based welfare in small and mediumsized enterprises. After providing a definition of the phenomenon, the authors briefly discuss the reasons behind the expansion of these practices, and illustrate some local experiences generated by local-level agreements among small and medium-sized enterprises. Such arrangements, which have not yet been studied in depth, display a different governance system than the one present in large companies. The authors test the hypothesis under which these localized experiences can contribute to the generation of collective goods oriented to the development of local welfare. The research questions that drive this contribution are therefore the following: which forms of regulation favour the provision of welfare benefits in small and medium enterprises through local-level agreements? Can these services be considered as local collective goods that both businesses and citizens can benefit from? If compared to what large companies are able to achieve through welfare in terms of increased social cohesion and local development, can company-based welfare in SMEs stemming from multi-stakeholder agreements lead to better results?