The project aims to respond to t greater fairness in the distribution of resources for welfare programs and the pricing of public services demanded by Local Administrations throughout Italy. In a modern state, a careful use of public money requires that access to goods and social services is given only to those who are in effective need.

Given the scarcity of financial resources they can depend on Local governments throughout Italy are increasingly asked to provide public services paying attention to a careful use of public money.

This requires that the access to social goods and services is given only to those who are in a state of actual need.

In Italy, eligibility to welfare programs is recognized through the verification of each family’s financial means, as can be deduced from the calculation of the Socio-Economic Equivalent Indicator (ISEE). This is a family cost-of-living and well-being index that takes into account differences in the composition of family unit.

The allocation of aid to families and access to public goods and services such as nursery, checks for the family with three minor children, maternity checks, canteens and school activities (books, scholarships), facilities for tuition fees, the right to education, access to student loans, health and social home services and lease contributions, is now perceived as very unfair as there are many cases where happens to exclude from aid persons that should be included and to include individuals who should be excluded. And very often citizens want local governments to carry out verifications to implement a strict control over the users of such services.

A family unit in a state of real need excluded from the contribution for an ineligible one imposes on society damage even not comparable with the amount of the contribution denied. Consider a family which has been unjustly denied a contribution and who is forced to not enroll, for financial reasons, the son to kindergarten. Suppose that the female component of this family is forced to reject a part-time job position due to inability to ensure their child adequate accommodation during business hours. In this case, how much it costs to society the error of assessment? What social problems involve?

To answer these questions comes the tool Factor Family.
Factor Family provides:
1) the use of equivalence scales that can differentiate between adults and children, and to consider the presence in a family of disabled people, or under 26 dependents, and other features that allow a precise identification of the payee,
2) the use of the available family’s income,
3) the introduction of tax avoidance control measures.

For these reasons, the research has a great socio-economic impact at both the local and national level and through a fairer system of selection allows a more efficient use of public resources for social services.
The goal of the research project is twofold:
1. To improve the efficiency of local government in identifying those who actually deserve to participate in welfare programs;
2. To make the pricing of public utilities, such as electricity, water and waste tariffs, more adequate in relation to large families of those young people and those actually in need.
To achieve these objectives, the Department of Economic Sciences Research Unit has partnered with local Administrations in order to:
  • Redesigning a verification tool based on:
  1. a more appropriate equivalence scale than the one currently adopted (that considers adults and children alike) and which provides a weighing system of the various family members features of interest;
  2. a request for information aimed to verify the correctness of the family fortune estimation.
  • Define a short questionnaire containing all the information needed to estimate correctly the family income.
  • Building a model of analysis and verification of ifamily income and financial situation that can be easily used by the Administration Local to check the correct identification of the beneficiary compared to the estimate that was obtained with the previous system, through direct audits of beneficiary families by the Local Administration
  • Studying through microsimulation based on the combined analysis of administrative data and ISTAT (Italian national statistical institute)on household consumption, the right pricing of utilities that does not penalize large or young families.
The ultimate objective is to foster the adoption by local governments:
  1. of new support tools for the delivery of aid
  2. tariff plans for public services better suited to the characteristics of households
  3. greater equity in service provision and improved efficiency and savings in the use of public resources

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