We study the distributive effects on Italian households of the three most relevant housing subsidies targeted to renters: a national rent supplement scheme introduced in the context of the reform that liberalised the rental market in the late 1990s, a tax credit for renters that has been recently strengthened, and the implicit economic support given to tenants in the social housing sector, through below-market rents. The analysis is performed on data from the Eu-Silc survey for Italy and, in the case of the housing allowances, also on register data from some of the largest Italian towns. We consider in particular the ability of these schemes to target low income households and their effects on the overall levels of poverty and inequality. Results from our analysis show a good targeting but very limited effect on social protection, with the partial exception of social housing.housing policy, housing benefits, social housing, tax credit, poverty, Italy.
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