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.

Access to knowledge and culture remains a problem for many children in Italy, in particular for those who are born in underprivileged familiar contexts. This is the bitter reality that emerges from “Illuminiamo il futuro 2030”, Save the Children’s research launched in 2014 and specifically dedicated to educational poverty. In this paper, Save the Children has identified a strategy to “illuminate the future” of children who live in Italy and to eliminate educational poverty before 2030.
On the eleventh and the twelfth of April, an event promoted by the European Commission - in collaboration with Impact Hub Siracusa - entitled “A brighter future for Europe: Innovation, integration and the migrant crisis” took place in Siracusa. The event (that lasts one day and a half) aimed at exploring integration policies and practices for migrants within member states while connecting and creating new synergies between projects for future collaborations.
Opinions on impact investing and particularly on social impact bonds can significantly differentiate themselves, because the approach assumed to understand the impact investing phenomenon play a crucial role in identifying the nature and the functions of impact investing as well. For this reason, it is useful to attentively review the contents and the topics recently reported by Rangan and Chase in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, together with two answers that follow it.
Italian social protection expenditure dedicates several resources to old age. However, welfare services are not sufficient anymore for satisfying the large and complex demand of the aging population. It is consequently urgent to think about alternatives in diverse sectors, such as the housing policies one, where proposals such as cohousing could have a very positive outcome but still aren’t well-known. What is cohousing and which viability can it have in Italy?
Italian public healthcare cannot provide all services requested by a new society that is increasingly demanding, because of the social and cultural changes. Furthermore the long-lasting-economic crisis has exacerbated the situation by contributing to the impoverishment of Italian families and by increasing the number of people who fit in the ‘grey slot’ and who do not have the means to access private healthcare. In this context, it is fundamental to start a fruitful collaboration between public and private actors in order to elaborate and strengthen health sector proposals directed at satisfying citizens’ needs.
Work and family reconciliation policies include political measures in favour of parenthood and care taking that, according to the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, might contribute to tackling the issue of the low Italian female employment rate. In 2015, the Jobs Act experimentally introduced new provisions for working parents. Among them, extended parental leaves and more working time flexibility. Will they be enough to tackle the problem of low female employment?
The purpose of the projet INCASI is to conduct comparative research in the area of social inequalities, in this case in relation to Europe and Latin America. Through this network we hope to foster a space for collective reflection and the development of synergies between network partners that allow us to undertake innovative studies whose outputs have an impact on academic and policy debates on the subject. The project will also contribute to informing the design of public policies to tackle social inequalities.
On January 27 the College of Commissioners hosted an orientation debate on President Juncker's initiative on establishing a European Pillar of Social Rights. The initiative is part of the Commission's goal to achieve a European "Triple A" in employment and social affairs. The DG Research and Innovation, Open and Inclusive Societies asked Professor Maurizio Ferrera to elucidate the issues at stake and to help set the parameters of a constructive debate.
Social innovation is considered a key tool for achieving the objective of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth envisaged by the Europe 2020 Strategy. Against this backdrop, research carried out within the ImPRovE project has investigated how social innovation made its way onto the European Union agenda and which kinds of instruments and resources the EU has made available in order to promote and support it. The analysis concerns the period 2006-2014 and it mainly focuses on social innovation in the field of poverty and social exclusion.
A long time has passed since, supported by the words of ‘We are the world’, the first world hunger campaign was launched. At that time and in that particular context, ‘world’ was conceived as some far away lands, and Africa was often one of them. With the advent of globalization, world hunger surely became more visible. However, it is only with the recent financial crisis that European countries recognized to be ‘hungry’ and were consequently forced to question their welfare as well as their labour model. Indeed, among the people who can today be categorized as ‘hungry’, working poor are clearly a rising number.
Starting November 2015, the website of the research project Percorsi di secondo welfare hosts a new section, Second Welfare, in order to collect a selection of our contents translated into English. The section has been envisaged as a new tool for international researchers and followers from all over the world, allowing to understand the idea of a “second welfare” and spread the word.
The 2015 Welfare Report has recently been presented in Milan by OD&M Consulting, a Gi Group society specialized in HR and flexible benefits. In order to realize this report, two web surveys - one addressed to enterprises and the other one to employees - have been proposed. Between March and April 2015, more than 300 employees and 112 employers have been involved in order to map welfare’s progress in Italy as well as to understand companies’ objectives and verify the results in those that have already implemented particular measures. Also, interrogating employees has helped to comprehend the extent to which beneficiaries were satisfied.
The new working paper of 2WEL serie "Work and forgiveness behind bars. Giotto Cooperative in Due palazzi prison in Padua" reviews the over-twenty-year history of Giotto Cooperative, the various tasks it introduced into Padua prison and the best practices it developed to rehabilitate prisoners. This paper also reports outcomes from several interviews to prisoners who presently work in the Cooperative, which clearly reveal some peculiar aspects of the "Giotto model".
Thanks to the support of Fondazione Cariplo, the executive summary of the First Report on Second Welfare in Italy has been translated in English and it is now available on our website, in order to raise awareness and foster the debate on second welfare in all those national contexts in which similar developments are underway.