Research

PUBLICATIONS

Discretion and Supplier Selection in Public Procurement (2020), with Cristina Giorgiantonio, Sauro Mocetti and Tommaso Orlando, forthcoming at the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (working paper version here).

Media: lavoce.info; VoxEU.

Let the Voters Choose Women (2020),  with Alessandra Casarico, Paola Profeta, and Giulia Savio, Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming.

Media: lavoce.info

Political Contributions and Public Procurement: Evidence from Lithuania (2020), Journal of the European Economic Association, 18(2), 541-582. Working paper version here.

Media: Veidas; Verslo Zinios; Verslo Zinios; lavoce.info.

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

Media: InGenere

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

WORK IN PROGRESS

NEW PAPER! Board composition and performance of state-owned enterprises: Evidence from gender quotas, with Mario Cannella, Sauro Mocetti and Giacomo Roma.

Quality of governance crucially affects corporate outcomes, and may be particularly important for state-owned enterprises not disciplined by market competition forces. We examine the impact of board composition on the performance of companies controlled by public entities (SOEs). For this purpose, we exploit the gradual introduction of a board gender quota in Italy, which was binding for SOEs, but not for companies with a minority share of public ownership. The difference-in-differences analysis shows that the reform was effective in increasing female presence on the boards of directors of SOEs. The new female directors have mostly replaced older and less talented men, thereby rejuvenating and improving the quality of the boards. To assess the effects of the law on firm performance, we rely on companies’ balance sheets and on survey information on citizens’ satisfaction with the provision of local public services. Although we do not detect significant changes in economic performance, the evidence of higher satisfaction with public services signals the improved quality of SOEs’ output.

NEW VERSION! Trainspotting: Board Appointments in Private Firms, with Egle Karmaziene, Bank of Italy working papers n. 1278.

This paper examines how the size of the corporate directors’ labor market affects board appointments in Italian private limited liability firms. As an exogenous shock to a firm’s access to potential non-local directors, we exploit the gradual expansion of the high-speed railway network that improves intercity commuting. We find that the non-local supply of directors increases the positive assortative matching between directors and firms: high-quality firms improve the quality of their boards, while low-quality firms reduce it. We also show that director quality is positively associated with firm growth and productivity, and negatively associated with the probability of default.

Media: LSE Business Review; VoxEU.

Opening the Black-Box of Managerial Talent, with Giulia Bovini and Sauro Mocetti.

This paper studies the role of managerial talent in determining corporate performance. For this purpose, we build a matched firm-director panel dataset for the universe of limited liability companies in Italy, tracking directors across different firms over time. We measure managerial talent by their ability to boost firms’ total factor productivity, estimated with a two-way fixed effects model. First, we find that managerial talent influences a number of corporate features conducive to positive firm performance. Namely, we show that talented managers are better able to forecast the firm performance; they diminish their middle-management layers and move towards highly-skilled workers at all organization levels; they are also associated with the adoption of good managerial practices and advanced technology. Second, and more importantly, we find complementarities between managerial ability and the other key internal drivers of productivity. While the workforce human capital, the use of good managerial practices and the adoption of new technologies do boost firm productivity on their own, there are synergies between each of them and the presence of talented management. Overall, our results indicate that able leaders are valuable to the firm not only because of good decisions they make, but also because of how such decisions are put in practice.

Corporate governance and firm crisis management, with Giacomo Rodano, in progress.

POLICY PAPERS

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. 514.

Media: lavoce.info (06/06/2020); lavoce.info (17/06/2020).