Areas

Public Policies Analysis
Public Economics
(see  JEL classification)
The main object of study in this area is the analysis of redistributive and efficiency effects of public intervention in the economy, with reference both to the tax system and to public spending. A more specific and non-exhaustive list of the covered topics includes the following: the measurement of inequality and poverty, the analysis of their determinants and the effects that public policies can have on them; the study of intertemporal effects of public policies; cost-benefit analysis and evaluation of public intervention programmes; the study of the interconnections between public finance and demographic processes; the interdisciplinary analysis of taxation. The theoretical analysis employs both static and dynamic models such as the overlapping generation model, while the empirical analysis uses calibration and simulation techniques, as well as econometric tools.


Behavioural and Experimental Economics
Financial Economics G4 Mathematical and Quantitative Methods C9 Microeconomics D9
(see  JEL classification)
Based on empirical data obtained in the laboratory (lab experiments) or in the field (field experiments), experimental economics pursues the dual objective of verifying the predictions of theoretical models and shedding light on new behavioural trends that are yet to be incorporated into the existing theories. A laboratory analysis consists in constructing small-scale economic scenarios with the ability to control the specific economic variables and to encourage the economic agents to interact within this context. Beginning from experimental observations and also making use of conceptual categories and tools developed in other disciplines (such as social psychology and neurosciences), behavioural economics provides alternative models when compared to those formulated by the traditional economic theory. Its main objective is to increase the explicative and forecasting power of economic theory through the analysis of cognitive limitations and social conditioning factors that mostly influence individual decision-making processes, with particular reference to the context of strategic interaction. The topics researched in this area include: private provision of public goods; psychological determinants of risk aversion; experimental analysis of the sense of fairness and of other 'socially conditioned preferences' in contexts of strategic interaction; deception and dishonest behaviour; monetary illusion; wage discrimination; experimental analysis of information aggregation processes and convergence and divergence of opinions within social networks; analysis of the role of communication and promises on mutual trust; self-control issues.


Welfare and Collective Choice
Health, Education, and Welfare I2-I3 Mathematical and Quantitative Methods C7 Microeconomics D0-D1,D3,D5-D8
(see  JEL classification)
This research area investigates the characteristics, the determinants and the effects of inequality, poverty and other phenomena that affect economic equilibrium and the social structure over a medium and long-term period, such as intergenerational mobility, discrimination, crime and conflicts. The mechanisms that drive individual and family choices of consumption, savings and accumulation of human and physical capital are analyzed under multiple perspectives, encompassing the economics of development, the theory of voting, the institutional economics, and the analysis of individual and collective choices under risk. From a normative point of view, the recent theory of equality of opportunities is developed following innovative research also based on methodological tools (curves of discrimination, dissimilarity analysis) that have been recently developed by the members of the Department. The research activity of this area is completed with empirical investigations that provide robust descriptive and causal analysis and propose clear lines of intervention to policy-makers interested in the well-being of families and social cohesion, in coherence with the most recent ethical principles of distributive justice.


Enviromental Economics, Energy Economics, Sustainability and Development
Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
(see  JEL classification)
This area of research focuses on the environmental sustainability of economic activities and environmental policies, the economic aspects of a rational management of urban and rural areas, the impact of renewable energy on the economic context and the rational exploitation of exhaustible and renewable natural resources. Some examples of topics covered in this research area include: the design of environmental policy instruments such as the payments for environmental services; the provision of local public goods and services, and their impact on quality of life, "resilience" and social cohesion at the urban level; the relationship between renewable energy, growth and imports; the study of the economic convenience of the introduction of electricity storage instruments to level out the production peaks deriving from the development of alternative energy sources; the evaluation of non-market assets, environmental damage and the benefits of environmental programmes in terms of ecological and biological risk reduction linked to human health; the effects of climate change on human behaviour and productivity in the agriculture sector both in developed and developing countries; waste management: that is the study of the effect of different methods of collection and pricing of the service on the disposal of solid urban waste; the drafting of environmental budgets.


Industrial Economics
Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth O3 Industrial Organization Microeconomics D2,D4
(see  JEL classification)
This area of ​​research deals, both from a theoretical and empirical point of view, with problems related to the firm activities, to the analysis of the markets and the economic sectors under different market structures, The analysis focuses on situations involving different numbers of firms in the presence of strategic interactions, information asymmetry and market power and could highlight the need for different types of policy interventions, such as regulation, taxes and subsidies or the promotion of specific economic institutions. The non-exhaustive list of researched topics includes the following: research and development choices; determinants of patent applications; price formation and price transmission in the electricity markets; vertical relationships between production and distribution activities of firms; sectoral dynamics of profit rates; the role of experts in decision-making processes; regulation, auctions and economic analysis of public procurement; input-output tables and the analysis of industrial sectors.


Health Economics
Health, Education, and Welfare I1
(see  JEL classification)
This area of research covers topics related to the demand and supply for health services and the analysis of individual health behaviours. A non-exhaustive list of research topics of interest includes: theoretical and empirical analysis of the organisation's efficiency and regulation of health systems; the study of the dynamics of health spending in relation to economic growth and medium-long term sustainability; methodological developments and applications of models for the economic evaluation of health technologies and measures to reduce mortality and disease risks; impact assessment, both from an economic and quality point of view, of health interventions and policies and cost-benefit analysis of health facilities; the economics of the pharmaceutical sector, with particular reference to competitive dynamics and innovation; the multidimensional evaluation of quality of life and health inequalities.


Quantitative Finance
Financial Economics G1-G3 Game theory, economics, social and behavioral sciences 91G
(see  MSC classification)
Research activity in the field of quantitative finance has its roots in two macro-areas: credit risk and the management of equity and bond portfolios. Within the line of research linked to credit risk, are developed studies relating to: (i) new credit scoring models that include the correlation between default and temporal dynamics of insolvency probabilities; (ii) innovative simulation techniques for estimating the probability of rare events in credit portfolios; (iii) new models for measuring the systemic risk of sovereign debt; (iv) pricing of complex derivative instruments for the coverage of insolvency risks. Within the research field related to the techniques for the management of equity and bond portfolios, are developed studies relating to: (i) variance reduction techniques for parallel simulation applied to the estimation of the risk of large portfolios; (ii) analytical techniques for the calibration of models for the evolution of equity returns in the presence of stochastic volatility; (iii) new methodologies for the evaluation of equity portfolios in the static and dynamic case; (iv) assessment of model risk in the context of quantifying the risk of a financial portfolio; (v) development of stochastic models for the term structure of interest rate in order to estimate the relationships between yield curves, macroeconomic variables and the implicit structure of risk premia.


Macroeconomics, International Economics and Development
Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth O1-O2,O4-O5 International Economics Labor and Demographic Economics Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics E1-E6
(see  JEL classification)
The Macroeconomics, International Economics and Development area examines the following topics: the analysis of economic cycles, unemployment, demographic economic dynamics, the international monetary system, the phenomenon of monetary illusion, and the long-term evolution of the economic structure. Particular attention is given to the institutional, organisational and cultural impacts - determined by the phenomenon of innovation and "creative destruction" - and to the internationalisation of the economy and politics. From the methodological point of view, are used models of endogenous growth, overlapping generations and with heterogeneous agents. From an empirical point of view, are applied both methodologies related to time series model and panel data model, and non-parametric and semi-parametric methods.


Quantitative Methods for Economics
Calculus of variations and optimal control; optimization Game theory, economics, social and behavioral sciences 91B-F Mathematical and Quantitative Methods C1-C6,C8 Numerical analysis Operations research, mathematical programming Partial differential equations Probability theory and stochastic processes Statistics
(see  MSC classification)
The research activity in quantitative methods for economics is based on three macro-areas: (a) econometrics, (b) statistics and (c) optimisation. (a) Within the field of Econometrics, appropriate methods are used and developed for the collection and analysis of non-experimental economic data from both longitudinal and time series. The main applications consist in the following activities: forecasting of macroeconomic and financial variables; the quantitative analysis of individual and collective economic behaviour; the impact assessment of economic and public policies; the measurement of risk; the empirical analysis of the evolution in the life cycle of saving and investment decisions at households level; the empirical analysis of the determinants of investment choices in R&D. (b) The main object of the statistical research area is related to the development of statistical methodologies and techniques for data analysis, for the design and implementation of surveys and experiments, the development of new probabilistic models as well as of the related inferential procedures. Some of the topics investigated in this area are related to demographic and social statistical analysis, robust parameter estimation, meta-analysis of different studies related to the same object of interest, models for time series and spatial economics, statistical methods for the integration of data from different sources. (c) The research activity within the optimisation field primarily concerns the study of theoretical aspects of constrained optimisation problems and variational inequalities. These models are involve both scalar and vectorial cases; in particular, are investigated the necessary and/or sufficient conditions for optimality; the definition of generalized Langragian and the consequent definition of Kuhn-Tucker multipliers and of generalized dual problems that could be not necessarily convex or non-differentiable. The topics developed in this area include also applicative aspects: optimization of the risk-return profile of investors operating in international markets; methods of stochastic optimisation for portfolio selection; mathematical methods applied to the design of automated trading systems formulated as problems of stochastic optimal control.


Economic History
Economic History Economic Systems History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
(see  JEL classification)
The main goal of this research area is the study and the interpretation of economic processes from a historical perspective (including the long-run), covering the following topics: history of agriculture, of business and industry activities, of accounting, labour, population, public and private finance, banking, commerce, transport, tourism and history of economic thought. A thorough knowledge of the laws that regulate economic phenomena is achieved through a careful and critical use of published and unpublished sources following a rigorous historical methodology. Tools of economic and econometric analysis will also be employed.