Second Welfare

Percorsi di secondo welfare is a research and information Laboratory linked to the University of Milan. Thanks to the support of important institutional partners the Laboratory led by Franca Maino aims to:

📚 Develop Knowledge
It explores, documents and disseminates second welfare trends, experiences and good practices to fuel an empirically based, plural and accessible debate.

🔎 Study Welfare Models
It collects data and empirical evidence to outline new intervention models thanks to a consolidated research methodology in the field of social policies.

🎯 Drive Actions
It supports and supports organizations in strategic planning aimed at implementing innovative initiatives and designing the welfare of the future.

The concept of “second welfare”

“Second welfare” refers to a mix of social protection and social investment programs which are not funded by the State, but provided instead by a wide range of economic and social actors, linked to territories and local communities, but open to trans-local partnerships and collaborations. Read more.


The Laboratory seeks to promote a “virtuous nesting” between first and second welfare, that will ultimately be able to tackle the challenges posed by demographic trends and the emergence of new social needs, and worsened by the present financial situation. Our research encompasses several areas of the social provision, with a specific focus on the non-public actors that increasingly play a role in the welfare arena, and the dynamics that determine their growing involvement.

English Section

Percorsi di secondo welfare has a English section in order to provide articles translated and original international contributions as well as to promote the debate on second welfare and the exchange of best practices. You can read them below.

During the pandemic the swedish government issued new guidelines to address gaps in Long Term Care sector and is now working to improve integration between national and local levels. The issue is considered a priority by voters and therefore is central in the political agenda. Paula Blomqvist, Professor at Uppsala University tells us so.
Southern Italy is the poorest one in terms of GDP per capita. Sicily and Calabria are characterized by a poor welfare system and are affected by a social plague: mafias. This article, part of a series written by the students of GPS Master at the University of Milan, aims to investigate how social movements from the bottom - such as anti-mafia associations - contribute to improve welfare systems in those regions.
Venture Philanthropy adopts the know-how of the business and market tradition for social purpose and to achieve social impact. This approach is crucial for the future of social investment. How? We analyze these aspects in this article by Izacco Scattolin Neto, part of a series written by Master’s students in Global Politics and Society at the University of Milan.
The pandemic challenged traditional education systems and new start-ups introduced innovative solutions. Could this challenge be an opportunity? In the following article, we discuss the role of Digital Social Innovation in the field of education. In the light of Covid-19 challenges and opportunities for educational innovation, we focus on two European start-ups: WeSchool and Teacherly.
The economic recession caused by Covid-19 has revealed the fragility of our socioeconomic systems and the importance of resilient welfare states. Children’s education, care and wellbeing have been at the centre of public debate. The Next Generation EU represents a unique opportunity to promote education and childhood care and, in the same time, to improve women’s employment.
On 11th December 2019, the European Commission published a Communication on "The European Green Deal": a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. The article investigates if and to what extent the "Green Deal" represents a suitable framework to implement a "just transition" towards low-carbon economies and societies.
Immigration and asylum became tremendously contested in Italy over the last decade and the climax was reached in 2018 with the “Security Decree I”, which contributed to further deteriorate the already deficient standards of first reception facilities. Since then, the most “virtuous” components of Italy’s asylum system have been reduced and the “burden of integration” fell on municipalities. How did virtuous cities respond?
We interviewed Guido Palazzo, Professor of Business Ethics at HEC, University of Lausanne, about the role of strategic philanthropy in promoting social change. FOBs promote impact assessment, nourish the social fabric and operate in a long-term perspective. Indeed, Palazzo’s research deals with corporate responsibility in global supply chains, the mechanisms of (un)ethical decision making in organizations, the fight against organized crime and the impact of storytelling on behavior.
Since 2019, a special section of “Stato e Mercato” journal focuses on how economies and welfare systems have been adapted to the common challenges of post-industrialization, financialization, ICT revolution and the knowledge economy. The first issue that opened 2020 was an insight about “Institutions, politics and models of capitalism” divided in three articles and two comments from the annual seminar organized by the journal. Here a summary of the issues and topics highlighted discussed.
Percorsi di secondo welfare, together with Bracco Foundation and Fondazione Sodalitas carried out in 2019 research to map the corporate foundations in Italy and discover their main characteristics and operating methods. The study provides an updated picture of the role of corporate foundations in Italy: an increasingly important sector both for the efficacy of corporate intervention programs in communities and territories and for their propensity to work with the service sector on strategic philanthropy.
The tenth edition of “Luci sul Lavoro” took place in Montepulciano from the 11th to the 13th of July 2019. The yearly festival is organized by EIDOS (Istituto Europeo di Documentazione e Studi Sociali). The aim of the festival is to focus the attention of policy-makers and different stakeholders on the multiple challenges that the labour market faces nowadays. The title of this year’s festival was ‘Between sustainability and innovation: which future for the labour market?’.
Along with the increased politicisation of EU affairs, immigration has become a central theme in the political debate on European integration. For this reason we recommend this article - published on the on-line platform EuVision - that investigates whether and how citizen' attitudes towards immigration are associated with their support for the EU and for policies favouring the inclusion of foreigners in domestic labour markets and welfare states.
Recently Ellen M. Immergut, Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Humboldt University of Berlin, has published the Policy Paper "Welfare state futures: supporting solidarity in Europe". The Paper report the result of the transnational research programme "NORFACE Welfare State Futures", wich has been focused on the future of the european welfare states.
The Report "Social Impact Investment in the EU. Financing Strategies and Outcome Oriented Approaches for Social Policy Innovation: Narratives, Experiences, and Recommendations" has been launched on December 13th in occasion of the Second International Conference on Social Impact Investments, held in Rome. The aim of the study is to review social impact investing strategies being proposed in EU Member States and assess what their impact is or can be in view of possible reforms to be introduced.
With about 200 participants from over 50 countries, the conference "Beyond Imagination: a socially innovative Europe" attracted a wide range of experts from social innovation organisations and networks for an intense series of discussions, debates and networking activities between 12th and 13th November in Seville. Gianluca Misuraca, Senior Scientist at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Seville, tells us about the results of the event.
EVPA releases "Investing for Impact: The EVPA Survey 2017/2018", the only study that explores where and how European venture philanthropy and social investment (VP/SI) organisations deploy resources to support social purpose organisations (SPOs). In 2018, venture philanthropy and social investment organisations report growing budgets coming from a diverse group of funders, more stable and professional human resources, and an improved pipeline management.
On June 21st of June the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council reached a general approach on the Work-Life Balance Directive, proposed more than one year ago by the European Commission. The proposal will be vote in July: it will be the time in which European citizens will see if it will be possible or not for the European Union to make a real step forward towards a more social Europe.
In this article, Sebastiano Sabato (researcher at the European Social Observatory, OSE) and Gert Verschraegen (Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Antwerp) explore the European Union framework for social innovation, i.e. the role of the EU in promoting and supporting local socially innovative initiatives.
During the High-Level Conference on Opening up to an era of Social Innovation that took place last year in Lisbon, Gianluca Misuraca, Senior Scientist at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (JRC-IPTS), announced the Winners of the IESI Award. AID:Tech won the first prize in the category "Most Promising Solution".