The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Italy’s system of social protection has come under criticism for being fragmented and excessively skewed toward pensioners and “insiders.” After setting up a consolidated presentation of the social security accounts, this paper provides an empirical assessment of the effectiveness of the welfare system, relying on a survey of households’ incomes and wealth. It concludes that, owing to ill-designed targeting mechanisms, less than a quarter of total spending on the welfare instruments under review accrues to families whose own resources fall short of the poverty line. The paper then proposes a new means-testing formula.