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).

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


Political Contributions and Public Procurement: Evidence from Lithuania (2017), Dondena Working Paper No. 100. Most recent version here. R&R at Journal of the European Economic Association. 

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 might receive information on competing bids. I assess that tax payers save almost one percent of GDP thanks to the reform.

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).

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

Let the Voters Choose Women (2016), CESifo Working Paper No. 5693 with Alessandra Casarico, Paola Profeta, and Giulia Savio. Submitted.

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 2013 in Italian local elections. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find 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. We also find evidence of changes in the expenditure allocation in municipalities subject to the policy.

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

Discretion and Supplier Selection in Public Procurement, with C.Giorgiantonio, S.Mocetti and T.Orlando. Submitted.

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 municipalities characterized by less competent politicians and bureaucrats and by higher levels of corruption. We also show that under broader discretion public agencies comply less frequently with transparency requirements.


Value of Political Office, in progress.

I study changes in income of Lithuanian parliamentary candidates using their tax declarations’ data. I adopt Regression Discontinuity Design to establish whether political office yields private monetary returns. The results show that net income of elected candidates grows at a double pace compared to unsuccessful ones. I find that large parliamentary wages alone cannot explain the observed difference, which indicates that political office brings additional non-wage income to elected politicians. However, there are no significant differences in the growth of declared net wealth between elected and non-elected candidates. Finally, I examine returns to office for politicians connected to former Soviet elite and find that such political affiliations do not deliver more economic gains.