Quality & Quantity 33: 243–260, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Out of Welfare: Functioning of
Income Support in Torino
, DALIT CONTINI
and NICOLA NEGRI
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali, Università di Torino, Italy;
Dipartimento di Statistica e
Matematica Applicata alle Scienze Umane, Università di Torino, Italy
Abstract. This paper explores the opportunities provided by a ﬁle of longitudinal data regarding
income support beneﬁts for able bodied poor in order to understand the functioning of the local
social assistance system in Torino.
The features of this system, its ‘selective-categorized’ character
and the differences from universalistic systems are analyzed. In this framework, the duration of the
periods users receive beneﬁts has been studied by means of event history analysis. The probability
of exit from welfare is related to socio-demographic characteristics of recipients. In particular we
observe a lower propensity to exit for female headed households and households with children.
The probability of exit appears to be affected also by labour market conditions, being higher when
these are more favourable. The exit rate does not decrease as time elapsed in welfare moves on. We
observe the existence of different styles of assistance among the different social services within the
city. Difﬁculties related to the interpretation of the empirical results, given the selective-categorized
features of the social assistance system, are emphasized. Finally, we discuss some theoretical issues
about evaluation of income support policies.
Key words: income support policies, longitudinal analysis, evaluation.
1. Objects of the Analysis
The aim of this study is to shed light on the functioning of social assistance
in Torino, as regards able-bodied poor,
i.e., poor households without particular
problems tied to handicaps or age. The focus is on how local policies actually
The Italian social assistance system is markedly fragmented, since legislation
often differs throughout the various parts of the country. The lack of a unifying leg-
islative framework means that different regional and local units implement policies
in different ways. This tends to make local analyses particularly signiﬁcant.
Analyses of the functioning of the social assistance system require rich data
archives, which seldom exist in the Italian local contexts. As regards Torino, a
fairly complete data base on all the households who receive income support has
been set up during the past few years. The features of this archive are presented in