Keywords: Italian Welfare State; Minimum Income Protection; Party Politics; Social Inclusion.
Minimum income protection constitutes the weakest front of achievement of the Italian welfare state. In the last decade, several attempts at the regional level have been made to depart from the traditional model, but they were frequently followed by policy reversal. Focusing on the cases of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Lazio this article - departing from previous claims of the literature - argues that political competition dynamics are crucial to understand this puzzling and incoherent policy trajectory. In particular, the interaction and political exchange dynamics between social actors - trade unions, faith-based organizations and social movements - and politicians - whose preference are structured by the systemic characteristic of the party system - are considered the crucial variables.