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Theme of the conference

Welfare systems in transition: between equity and sustainability 

University of Milan, September 13th-15th 2023

 

Over the last half century, slow moving structural transformations, recurrent multidimensional crises, labour market reforms and, last but not least, the “green” and “digital” transitions have been affecting the social protection systems built during the Trente Glorieuses (1945-1975). 

In order to tackle such challenges, welfare systems have been deeply restructured along different dimensions: functional, by allocating resources to diverse social protection sectors; distributive, with the aim to protect the groups either no protected or mostly exposed to “new social risks”; politico-institutional, with some actors playing a more prominent role in the field of welfare both along the vertical axis – the European Union, as well as regions and municipalities – and the horizontal axis – third sector “not-for-profit” organizations, charities, trade unions, firms and employers’ organizations, but also banking and insurance companies and associations. 

Welfare systems are thus currently in transition towards new, more complex and fragmented configurations, which should anyhow guarantee social cohesion and social inclusion in the next decades, in a context characterized by slower economic growth, global instability as well as growing social insecurity and vulnerability. 

Against such backdrop, the conference aims at stimulating broad discussion and reflection on the effectiveness of these highly complex and fragmented “welfare systems in transition” in finding a difficult balance between the key objective of equity and the maintenance of economic-financial, but also social, political and environmental sustainability.  

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