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Tax credits for dependent children and child benefits: what do we learn from the Italian experience?


  • Francesca Gastaldi
  • Paolo Liberati


This paper assesses the relative merits of tax credits for dependent children and child benefits in redistributing income and alleviating poverty in Italy. The main result is that the great emphasis put by Italian policy-makers in designing tax credits in the last 15 years has been mostly misplaced if the aim was that of supporting low-income households. On the other hand, child benefits - potentially a more effective tool - have not proven to be a growing source of redistribution in the same period. Overall, the Italian experience shows a rather uncertain path in helping families with children, with comparable results achieved by very complex and much simpler tax/benefit systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Gastaldi & Paolo Liberati, 2009. "Tax credits for dependent children and child benefits: what do we learn from the Italian experience?," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 219-234.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:12:y:2009:i:3:p:219-234
    DOI: 10.1080/17487870903105569

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Redmond, G. & Sutherland, H., 1995. "How Has Tax and Social security Policy Changed Since 1978? A Distributional Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9541, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Matsaganis, Manos & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Levy, Horacio & Coromaldi, Manuela & Mercader-Prats, M. & Rodrigues, Carlos Farinha & Toso, Stefano & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2004. "Child poverty and family transfers in Southern Europe," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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