Political Contributions and Public Procurement: Evidence from Lithuania (2019), Journal of the European Economic Association. Working paper version here.

This paper studies whether firms trade political contributions for public procurement contracts. Combining data on Lithuanian government tenders, corporate donors and firm characteristics, I examine how a ban on corporate donations affects the awarding of procurement contracts to companies that donated in the past. Consistent with political favoritism, contributing firms’ probability of winning goes down by five percentage points as compared to that of non-donor firms after the ban. Evidence on bidding and victory margins suggests that corporate donors
may receive auction-relevant information affecting procurement outcomes in their

MediaDraudimas įmonėms finansuoti partijas sutaupo šimtus milijonų“, Dovaidas Pabiržis,, 20/04/2016 (article in Lithuanian); “Tu man, aš tau: politinių aukų analizė”, Dalius Simėnas, Verslo Zinios, 02/06/2016 (article in Lithuanian);  “Tyrimas: labiausiai partijas remti apsimokėjo PST, Panevėžio keliams, Mitnijai”, Dalius Simėnas, Verslo Zinios, 02/06/2016 (article in Lithuanian); “Finanziamento ai partiti: meglio pubblico o privato?,, 11/11/16 (article in Italian).

Awards:  Best Paper Award – 2016 RES Symposium of Junior Researchers; Unicredit Best Presentation Prize –  2015 Petralia Workshop.

Gender Quotas and the Quality of Politicians (2014), with Piera Bello, Alessandra Casarico and Paola Profeta, Journal of Public Economics, 118: 62-74.

Media: Quote di genere per le candidature migliori”, InGenere, 27/08/2014 (article in Italian).

Awards: Bocconi University 2018 Annual Award for Research Impact.

Affirmative Action and the Power of the Elderly (2015), with Alessandra Casarico and Paola Profeta, CESifo Economic Studies, 61(1): 148-164.


Let the Voters Choose Women (2016), CESifo Working Paper No. 5693 with Alessandra Casarico, Paola Profeta, and Giulia Savio. Forthcoming at the Journal of Public Economics.

We study the effectiveness of a novel measure to reduce gender gaps in political empowerment: double preference voting conditioned on gender, coupled with gender quotas on candidate lists. This policy was introduced in 2012 in Italian municipal elections. Using a regression discontinuity design, we fi nd that the share of female councilors rises by 18 percentage points. The result is mainly driven by an increase in preference votes cast for female candidates, suggesting a salient role of double preference voting. We also detect changes in voters’ behavior in casting preferences in higher level elections, suggesting the presence of spill-over effects of the double preference voting policy.

Media: “Se il nuovo Senato è per soli uomini”,, 29/01/16 (article in Italian)

Discretion and Supplier Selection in Public Procurement (2018), with C.Giorgiantonio, S.Mocetti and T.Orlando. Bank of Italy Working Paper No.1178 and Dondena Working Paper No.122 R&R at the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization.

Public procurement outcomes depend on the ability of the procuring agency to select well-performing suppliers. Should public administrations be granted more or less discretion in their decision making? Using Italian data on municipal public works tendered in the period 2009-2013, we study how a reform extending the scope of bureaucrat discretion affects supplier selection. We find that the share of contracts awarded to politically connected firms increases while the (ex-ante) labor productivity of the winning firm decreases, thus suggesting a potential misallocation of the public funds. These effects are concentrated among lower quality procuring agencies.

Media: “Appalti: la discrezionalità può avere un limite”,, 19/06/2018 (article in Italian)


NEW! Trainspotting: Board Appointments in Private Firms, with Egle Karmaziene, in progress.

We examine how expanding the local pool of potential directors affects board appointments in Italian private firms. To establish the causality of the relationship, we rely on the gradual introduction of a high-speed train to obtain exogenous variation in firm access to potential directors’ supply. Using administrative data on board members of the universe of limited liability companies, we find that a positive shock in director supply triggers more board renewals. Under the assumption that director and firm quality are complements in the production process, there is evidence that the director-firm match quality improves. Moreover, firms exposed to such director supply shock become more productive and the effect primarily arises from the most productive firms. Interestingly, family firms remain rather immune to a more open talent pool – their board appointments change little, and so does their productivity.

Media: MAKING GOOD CORPORATE BOARD APPOINTMENTS: Evidence from Italy of the productivity advantages for firms in bigger and better-connected cities“, EEA media briefing.

Directors’ Talent and Firm Performance, with Giulia Bovini and Sauro Mocetti, in progress.

Policy papers

NEW! Ownership structure and governance of Italian companies: new evidence and effects on performance, with Elisa Brodi and Sauro Mocetti, Bank of Italy Occasional Papers, No. 509.