Chiara Saraceno

The universal single allowance: what changes in the financial support to families with children

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Family policy, child allowance, fertility, women’s employment, universality

The new universal single allowance for children, which has started to be implemented in March 2022, is a small revolution in the Italian system. It substitutes a number of fragmented and categorical measures that not only treated similar families differently, but often left the poorest families (and children) unsupported. The article critically analyses the formal objectives of this new instrument, arguing that they may be too ambitious and, in the case of supporting mothers’ employment, weakened by its being inspired by the principle of vertical universalism: the amount decreases as the family income and wealth increase. According to the author, although there may be good reasons for adopting this perspective, it risks disincentivizing a second earner, particularly in larger families and among low skilled mothers. The addition to the allowance amount which is provided in case both parents are in paid work is too small to offset this risk.

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