Tendencies in income distribution and the crisis of the middle-class in
Italy: perception or reality?
The aim of the paper is to assess distributional changes occurred in Italy in the last thirty years, focusing in particular on the last decade. Computations are based on Bank of Italy’s Survey of Households Income and Wealth and are aimed at drawing a consistent picture of the major distributional episodes around three main issues: income inequality, poverty and mobility. Although most of synthetic indices show limited changes along the last decade, the use of alternative non-static tools such as transition matrices reveal a significant downward mobility for the middle and the upper-middle quantiles, which is also associated to a higher persistence for the bottom part of the distribution. These findings suggests that, in absence of a «risk premium» due to poor growth performances, the greater uncertainty and the risk-shift caused by recent reforms being extremely relevant in explaining the puzzle between the empirical evidence of stability in distributional indices and the feeling of impoverishment experienced by Italian households.