Research

PUBLICATIONS

NEW! Let the Voters Choose Women (2019),  with Alessandra Casarico, Paola Profeta, and Giulia Savio, Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming.

Media: “Se il nuovo Senato è per soli uomini”, lavoce.info, (article in Italian)

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

MediaDraudimas įmonėms finansuoti partijas sutaupo šimtus milijonų“, Veidas.lt (article in Lithuanian); “Tu man, aš tau: politinių aukų analizė”, Verslo Zinios (article in Lithuanian);  “Tyrimas: labiausiai partijas remti apsimokėjo PST, Panevėžio keliams, Mitnijai”, Verslo Zinios, (article in Lithuanian); “Finanziamento ai partiti: meglio pubblico o privato?, lavoce.info (article in Italian).

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,  (article in Italian).

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

WORKING PAPERS

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”, lavoce.info,  (article in Italian)

WORK IN PROGRESS

NEW! 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.

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; “The unexpected effect of high-speed trains on board talent”, LSE Business Review.

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