Informations and abstract
Keywords: Policy Instruments; Selective Universalism; Targeting; Childcare Services; Social Policy Fragmentation.
Targeting criteria for selecting beneficiaries of social provisions represent a crucial step in the process leading from the formulation of policy objectives to outcomes. Considering that targeting criteria can successfully allocate scarce resources, in the current economic situation these criteria have been used increasingly as policy instruments of selective universalism. However, since they are often viewed merely as a technical device, they are usually considered marginal in the policy process. By analysing access criteria to public childcare services in 36 municipalities in Lombardy, the authors show how targeting criteria, far from being marginal, are crucial in determining policy outcomes. Depending on the criteria adopted, the service can in fact be described as providing public assistance, promoting occupation, or relieving families of burdensome care responsibilities. The largely heterogeneous definition of targeting criteria thus produces different citizenship profiles and further increases the well-known fragmentation of the Italian welfare system.