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No country for young people. Poverty and age in Italy, 1948-2018

Author

Listed:
  • Massimo Baldini
  • Giulia Mancini
  • Giovanni Vecchi

Abstract

The paper explores the changing risk of poverty for older and younger generations of Italians throughout the republican period, 1948 to the present day. We show that poverty rates have decreased steadily for all age groups, but that youth has been left behind. The risk of poverty for children aged 0-17, relative to adults over 65, has increased steadily over time: in 1977, children faced a risk of poverty 30 percent lower than the elderly, but by 2016 they are 5 times likelier to be poor than someone in the age range of their grandparents. This intergenerational reversal of fortune is unprecedented in Italy’s post-WW2 history. We also assess the impact of the Great Recession on living standards by age, finding that the young have been hit hardest, particularly in Southern regions. What explains the extra poverty risk associated with young age? Our analysis points to the welfare state, which offers better protection for the elderly than it does for the young and their families. We find that the impact of cash transfers on the incidence of child poverty is considerably lower in Italy than in most comparable countries. Overall, in the last seven decades, Italy has become no country for young people.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Baldini & Giulia Mancini & Giovanni Vecchi, 2018. "No country for young people. Poverty and age in Italy, 1948-2018," HHB Working Papers Series 9, The Historical Household Budgets Project.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbu:wpaper:9
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Toniolo, Gianni (ed.), 2013. "The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy Since Unification," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199936694, November.
    2. Gabriella Berloffa & Paola Villa, 2010. "Differences In Equivalent Income Across Cohorts Of Households: Evidence From Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(4), pages 693-714, December.
    3. Beegle, Kathleen & De Weerdt, Joachim & Friedman, Jed & Gibson, John, 2012. "Methods of household consumption measurement through surveys: Experimental results from Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 3-18.
    4. Beckerman W., 1978. "Estimates of poverty in Italy in 1975," ILO Working Papers 991786773402676, International Labour Organization.
    5. Vecchi, Giovanni, 2017. "Measuring Wellbeing: A History of Italian Living Standards," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199944590, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    age; cash transfers; Great Recession; living conditions; poverty; wellbeing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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