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.

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".
“Addressing the legacy of the crisis, from long-term unemployment to high levels of public and private debt in many parts of Europe, remains an urgent priority.” These are words from President Juncker in the White Paper on the future of Europe, stressing the importance of social progress as a collective duty. And in this very spirit the European Commission, the Portuguese Government and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation joined forces and announced “Opening up to an ERA of Social Innovation” Conference, to be held in Lisbon on 27 and 28 November.
October 17th marked the official start for Nesta Italia, an innovation-driven private Foundation aiming to bring to the Italian Third Sector "a proper revolution in the tackling of social problems". This brand-new institution is the result of the collaboration between Nesta, the philanthropic Foundation based in London with global scope, and the Italian Compagnia di San Paolo, ranking amongst the biggest private foundations in Europe.
On Wednesday 26th of April 2017 in addition to proposing the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission also put forward several legislative and non-legislative initiatives related to work-life balance. The proposal for a Directive of The European Parliament and of The Council on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers and Repealing Council Directive 2010/18 is an essential part of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The EU institutions have recognized that gender equality is a crucial factor in achieving growth, employment, and social inclusion. Gender issues have been tackled in a number of directives and the European Commission Strategic Engagement plan for Gender Equality 2016-2019 highlights the importance of allocating resources for this matter. Unfortunately the commitment of the EU to gender equality is still not adequately dealt with in its budget (and not only).
Parental leave systems differ from country to country, and they do not always fit into classifications suitable for international comparison. For this reason, the harmonization of parental leave policy in the EU is likely to be a long and complex process due to various traditions across the member states and because of the fact that social policy falls under competence of member states. What is the EU doing on this front?
On September 13th the Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of the resolution “Creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance”, a clear political commitment of the European Parliament to strengthen work-life balance opportunities for European women and men. According to the Lithuanian co-rapporteur Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, by passing a resolution, the Parliament sends a clear message to the Commission.
The growth of unemployment and the austerity policies imposed by the Greek governments to tackle the Greek debt had not left untouched the health sector, leaving around 1/3 of the country’s population uncovered. In order to contribute to the debate regarding the provision of “second welfare”, this article draws its attention to Greece and the case of social clinics, established all over the country to provide for free primary healthcare services and medicines to those without access to the healthcare system.
For 25% of the European population, pensions are the primary source of income. Furthermore, the number of pensioners is expected to double in the next 40 years. In this situation is crucial, now more than ever, to find a way to keep the pensions both adequate and sustainable. Adequate for the need not only to avoid poverty but also to ensure acceptable life standards. And this is particularly challenging when it comes to women.
What have we learned from the Brexit referendum campaign? Was this a national debate about UK membership of the European Union or a mix of quite different hopes and fears, using this referendum as a brief opportunity to express themselves? And what can Europe learn from the result? Professor Graham Room shares his opinion with us, away from austerity and towards new forms of solidarity.
The recent volume “Povertà alimentare in Italia: le risposte del secondo welfare” (Food Poverty in Italy: Second welfare’s answers) confronts the phenomenon of food poverty in our country as part of a more general welfare crisis. The aim is to underline the perverse dynamics that fuel food poverty (particularly linked to recurrent weaknesses of our welfare model) but also to illustrate attempts to contrast it.
After trying to reconcile work and family, many people are now trying to reconcile working life and vacation. Due to a rising flexibility of work, a major number of people find it difficult to completely unplug from work, even for a short period of time. Aware of this new tendency, tourists’ facilities furnish both WI-FI and PCs to their hosts. The trend seems nnonetheless to go even further with the advent of “co-working on vacation”. This solution generates new reflections concerning the boundaries of work and how it can be defined.