Past Students

    Name Ph.D. Year Advisor Placement
    Daniel Felix Ahelegbey GSEM 2015 M. Billio/R. Casarin Post doc fellowship Boston University

    Bayesian Graphical Models with Economic and Financial Applications
    Recent advances in empirical finance have seen a considerable amount of research in network econometrics for systemic risk analysis. The network approach aims to identify the key determinants of the structure and stability of the financial system, and the mechanism for systemic risk propagation. This thesis contributes to the literature by presenting a Bayesian graphical approach to model cause and effect relationships in observed data. It contributes specifically to model selection in moderate and high dimensional problems and develops Markov chain Monte Carlo procedures for efficient model estimation. It also provides simulation and empirical applications to model dynamics in macroeconomic variables and financial networks. The contributions are discussed in four self contained chapters. Chapter 2 reviews the literature on network econometrics and the Bayesian approach to graph structural inference with potential applications. Chapter 3 proposes a Bayesian graphical approach to identification in structural vector autoregressive models. Chapter 4 develops a model selection to multivariate time series of large dimension through graphical vector autoregressive models and introducing sparsity on the structure of temporal dependence among the variables. Chapter 5 presents a stochastic framework for financial network models by proposing a hierarchical Bayesian graphical model that can usefully decompose dependencies between financial institutions into linkages between different countries financial systems and linkages between banking institutions, within and/or across countries.

    Michele Pinelli GSEM 2015 T.Vescovi/C.Mio Research fellowship Luiss Università Guido Carli

    Three essays on sustainability, strategy and business model innovation
    In recent years concerns about the social and environmental consequences of business activities have been escalating and studies of CSR and sustainability is now gaining momentum in both business and academia. This doctoral dissertation aims at investigating the strategic implications of the emergence of the sustainable development paradigm and the state of the art of sustainability research. This thesis includes three essays that touch a variety of aspects related to the topics of sustainable development, strategic management and business model innovation.

    Giulia Redigolo GSEM 2015 S. Bozzolan (Unipd) Postdoc and Teaching Associate, Department of Economics and Management, University of Padua

    Essays on Management Earnings Forecasts
    This dissertation investigates from a longitudinal perspective whether firms engage in consistent pattern of management earnings forecasts and how this might influence the information environment.

    Stefano LiPira GSEM 2015 C.Giachetti/M.LiCalzi Research fellowship Ca' Foscari University

    Three Essays on Competitive Dynamics and Imitation
    This dissertation, composed of three essays, includes the research we conducted in the fields of competitive dynamics, imitation and experimental economics. The first essay deals with the performance implications of imitation of competitors’ innovation. In this study we attempted to shed more light on the crucial role of timing when firms imitate a new product technology. On the baseline hypothesis that speed of new technology imitation is positively associated with performance we have explained how contingency factors at the technology pioneer- and environmental-level might vary this relationship. The second essay sheds light on the Red Queen effect as a contest of imitative strategies among rivals. Across the study we show that, in these dynamics, imitation is a compulsory strategy, but only if rapid it allows firms to sustain their performance. We further show that this Red Queen effect depends on product technology heterogeneity in the market, a situation in which products in the market widely differ in terms of the technologies they are equipped with. The third essay is an experimental work that deals with the issue of coordination. When firms have to transfer knowledge, within or between firms, they have to deal with intense processes of negotiation. Across the study we decided to observe linguistic interaction to provide some evidence on how is structured a process of negotiation through which individuals redefine meanings to coordinate with their peers.

    Anna Alexander Vincenzo GSEM 2015 A. Parbonetti (UniPd) Postdoctoral researcher, WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management

    Essays on tax avoidance and risk
    In the first chapter, we present a review of empirical studies on the consequences of tax avoidance. We examine the real effects of corporate tax avoidance on capital structure, investment policies, and investors´ valuations. The second chapter examines the relation between executive inside debt holdings and corporate tax avoidance. Inside debt holdings should incentivize executives to act more conservatively towards risk. Consistent with the prediction, we document a negative association between CEOs and CFOs inside debt holdings and higher levels of tax risk. In the third chapter, we analyse the association between tax avoidance and executive equity-risk incentives. We analyse whether stock and option based compensation is associated with increased tax avoidance activities. Our results show that equity-risk incentives are associated with measures that captures the level of corporate tax avoidance while results on tax risk are not significant.

    Shilei Wang GSEM 2015 M. Bernasconi  

    Group Structure and Collective Behavior
    The thesis consists of four chapters, which are loosely connected by the abstract relation between group structure and collective behavior. In detail, Chapter 1 studies such properties as dynamics, chaos, stability, and iteration in a dynamical system. Chapter 2 investigates some axioms of separability with the aim of developing algebraic-geometric principles to efficiently identify additive preference structures. Chapter 3 discusses quotation formations and dynamics in a modern security market, and constructs a number of assertions on its stability and stochastic stability. Chapter 4 relies on collective decision-making processes for providing local public goods on a network to show how decisions are contingent on different network structures.

    Liudmila Antonova DEC 2015 A. Brugiavini/G. Pasini Research fellowship Ca' Foscari University

    Three essays in socio-economic determinants of health: a life-course approach 2014 Award for Young Researchers by Associazione Italiana di Economia Sanitaria (AIES)
    A life-course approach is used both by epidemiologists and by economists in studies of how physical and social hazards during sensitive period of life (gestation, childhood, adolescence, midlife, etc.) affect the risk of developing chronic diseases and other health outcomes later in life. I study the effect on health of three types of events: macroeconomic crises in the prime working age; working conditions at the main job and health behavior patterns. While for the first two I examine the reduced form effects assuming the exogeneity of these events in respect to health after controlling for possible social-economic confounders, in the last study concerning health behavior I build a structural model and estimate structural parameters of health production function using the data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey data. The results show that while all the three factors significantly affect health later in life, there is a significant heterogeneity in the effects between different population subgroups.

    Ludovico Carrino DEC 2015 A. Brugiavini Teaching at Ca' Foscari University

    Understanding vulnerability and patterns of elderly-care in Europe. Essays on formal and informal care, multidimensional measures of vulnerability and social exclusion 2014 FARMAFACTORING FOUNDATION - AIES award winner for best project
    This dissertation addresses two main challenges for the Economics of social protection in Europe, namely, the measurement of multidimensional vulnerability conditions and the interplay between the public and the family support to population in need. The first two chapters focus on availability, accessibility and utilization of long-term care (LTC) among vulnerable elderly adults in Europe. We review assessment-of-need and eligibility frameworks for public home-care benefits (in kind or in cash) in European countries and regions, and show that coverage of formal LTC systems is significantly affected by cross-countries and within-countries heterogeneities in the definition and the measurement of vulnerability conditions.The second chapter investigates the trade-off between formal and informal home-care for vulnerable elderlies in Austria, Belgium, Germany and France. Finally, the third chapter goes back to the methodology and rationale of measuring multi-dimensional socio-economic phenomena. In particular, we focus on the concept of Social Exclusion (defined by the European Council), a multi-faceted condition of weakness that prevents groups of individuals from taking part to an active social and working life in a community.

    Daria Arkhipova DEA 2014 M. Warglien Teaching at Ca' Foscari University

    Dynamic competition and cooperation in systemic industries: models and experiments
    This doctoral dissertation consists of the three stand-alone articles which share a common thread in that they all deal with the original formalization of a real-world managerial challenge of developing a multicomponent product in systemic industries. The first chapter draws upon the agent-based simulation model and is essentially concerned with understanding the role of chance in engendering firm-level performance heterogeneity among initially identical entities. The results demonstrate that making positional choices early and repeatedly benefits firm performance in technological environments where excessive competitive crowding may render the prior research efforts obsolete. The second chapter aims at validating the behavioral assumptions of the original model though a laboratory experiment and contrasts the observed performance and coalition structures against a simulation benchmark. The results suggest that human actors violate the assumptions of myopic and risk-neutral behavior and seek to intentionally forestall the opponents’ plans by making choices that would increase the probability of mutually beneficial collaboration.The third chapter bridges the fields of strategy and experimental psychology in that it seeks to infer the actual decision-making processes from the verbal protocols recorded during the laboratory experiment..

    Giacoma De Maria DEA 2014 A. Comacchio/E. Rocco Research Project financed by ESF

    Social entrepreneurship: concept development, networks and open organizational form. A case study
    While research on Social Entrepreneurship (SE) has been growing in the last two decades, academic literature appears still fragmented, characterized by the heterogeneity of objects and units of analysis and by definitional uncertainties. My thesis provides new insights to understand the actual state of the art of the debate on the topic, by providing the most extensive bibliometric analysis (441 publications) of past literature on social entrepreneurship building on a rich dataset and on longitudinal bibliometric data. My study also provides empirical contributions on two of the more recent advancements in SE, entrepreneurship and social network research fields: 1) the co-development of a new venture and the entrepreneur's social networks; 2) the role of open organizational forms based on inter-organizational relationships for delivering a new social value and realizing social innovation in no-profit sector.

    Armenak Antinyan DEA 2014 M. Warglien Research Fellowship Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

    Three essays on Social Preferences, Social Dilemmas and Taxation
    The dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter 1 studies other-regarding preferences of decision makers in the domain of losses. The framework of the Dictator Game is modified by introduction of a bi-directional monetary loss. Chapter 2 studies the interaction of individuals with heterogeneous characteristics in a social dilemma. The framework of the Public Goods Game is modified, by manipulating the endowment sources of the individuals included in the same group. Chapter 3 studies whether providing information on the national public expenditure to the taxpayers and whether involving taxpayers in the process of allocating tax revenues over public goods influence the level of the adequate tax rate- the fraction of income that individuals consider adequate to pay as taxes.

    Luis Guillermo Aranda Claussen DEC 2014 A. Brugiavini Microsoft Mexico

    Contextualizing the Homo Economicus: Essays on Non-Instrumental Relationality, Quality of Life, and Civic Engagement
    The aim of this dissertation is to highlight the importance of re-contextualizing the individual in economic analysis. In particular, the emphasis is placed on human relationality in its non-instrumental form for the study of life satisfaction and quality of life. Chapter 1 introduces the concept of non-instrumentality in relations and describes the problem posed by its continuous decline in recent years. An alternative categorization of such form of relationality is proposed and equipped with a theoretical model where traditional economic modeling tools are mixed with Hirschman (1970) insights of organizational behavior to endow non-instrumental relationships with a restorative signal mechanism aimed at preserving their stability from within. Moreover, a model of relational capital is constructed around the proposition that non-instrumental relationships are commodities which can be both consumed and produced by individuals through investments in the form of time and market goods. In Chapter 2 the positive link between one form of non-instrumental relationality –namely, family ties– and quality of life is documented. Using a difference-in-differences propensity score matching approach, a thorough empirical analysis of the relationship between the psychological well-being of older generations and their coresidence choices is carried out. The findings seem to highlight the supporting role played by family proximity in old age: respondents from historically Catholic European countries choosing to live under the same roof with an adult child reported significantly lower depression levels than those for whom such a treatment was not present. Chapter 3 uses a stag-hunt game to exemplify the risk- and payoff-dominant equilibria often present in the provision of public goods. An instrumental variables approach is used to document the link between cognitive abilities and pro-social behaviors in old age. The results advocate for the existence of a seemingly strong causal link running from cognition to community engagement. This empirical finding supports theories of collective agency –such as those of we-rationality and team-thinking– and is in line with mainline experimental results showing how participants with higher cognitive abilities tend to be less risk averse and hence more willing to opt for a payoff-dominant action in a stag-hunt game context more often.

    Maddalena Cavicchioli DEC 2014 M. Billio Research Fellowship University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

    Essays on Markov Switching Models with Applications in Economics and Finance 2014 SIE award for the best thesis in Economics
    In this thesis we discuss problems emerging in the application of Markov Switching (MS) models both in Economics and Finance. The aim of the study is to propose solutions for model selection and estimation of multiple time series subject to regime shifts. In Chapter 1 we review the literature about dynamic systems for modeling time series with changes in regimes. In the second Chapter we investigate the problem of determining the number of regimes in MS-VARMA models and describe methods for model selection based on the autocovariance function and on stable representation of the system. Application to business cycle analysis is conducted. In Chapter 3 we introduce MS models for volatility of financial data and propose a unified framework for estimating MS-GARCH and MS-Stochastic Volatility models (duality result). In the fourth Chapter we explore other questions concerning with MS models as estimation and spectral representation. With regards to the first, we obtain simple matrix formulae for maximum likelihood estimates of parameters in the class of MS-VAR and conditional heteroskedastic models. This allows us to determine explicitly the asymptotic variance-covariance matrix of the estimators, thus giving a concrete possibility for the use of classical testing procedure. Concerning the second, we study the properties of spectral density function for MS-VAR models and derive close-form formulae for the spectral density. Several simulation exercises and applications to macroeconomic and financial data complete the work.

    Lorenza Campagnolo DEC 2014 C. Carraro FEEM/ Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change

    Distributional effects of energy policy: a micro-macro perspective
    This work analyses the profitability of enhancing a macroeconomic framework (Computable General Equilibrium model) using microdata from household surveys and assessing distributional effects on income and consumption induced by a simulated shock. On this purpose, the modelling options range from the fragmentation of the usual representative agent in a multi-household representation to the creation of a soft-link between the household data and the macro model. A focus is presented on inequality and poverty issues in the context of environmental and energy policies. A non-behavioural microsimulation model is developed and it is used to evaluate the distributional impacts of a policy reducing fossil fuel subsidies in Indonesia.

    Anthony Ayokunle Osuntuyi DEC 2014 M. Billio Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

    Essays on Bayesian inference with financial applications
    This thesis is composed of two main research lines. The first line, developed in chapters 2 to 4, deals with frequentist and Bayesian estimation of regime-switching GARCH models and its application to risk management in energy markets, while the second part, which corresponds to chapter 5, focuses on forecast rationality test within a Bayesian framework. Chapter 2 presents a unified framework for characterizing the MS-GARCH  class of models based on collapsing the regimes in order to eliminate the usual path dependence problem. Within this framework, two new models (identified as the Basic model and the Simplified Klaassen model) are proposed as alternative specifications of the MS-GARCH model. Using Maximum Likelihood Estimation, we estimate the parameters of the different models within this family and compare their performance on both simulation and empirical exercises. Chapter 3 proposes new efficient Monte Carlo simulation techniques based on multiple proposal Metropolis. The application to approximated inference for regime-switching GARCH models is there discussed. In Chapter 4, we provide an extension of our efficient Monte Carlo simulation algorithm to a multi-chain Markov switching multivariate GARCH model and apply it to risk management in commodity market. More specifically, we focus on futures commodity market and suggest a dynamic and robust minimum variance hedging strategy which accounts for model parameter uncertainty. In chapter 5, we propose a new Bayesian inference procedure for testing the monotonicity properties of second moment bounds across several horizons presented in Patton and Timmermann [2012].

    Martin Siyaranamual DEC 2014 M. Bernasconi Padjadjaran University /World Bank Jakarta

    Essays on the non-monetary aspects of cooperative behaviours
    This dissertation consists of three independent essays that explore the non-monetary aspects on the cooperative behaviours. In the first essay, I analyse the effect of social interaction on the decision to contribute to public good. To examine the effect of social interaction, I construct a sampling design where respondents are divided into three different groups, namely treated, untreated, and control groups. The respondents in the treated and untreated groups were allowed to interact/discuss with each other, within and across groups, prior to the WTP elicitation question. I find that treated and untreated respondents with social interactions have higher and significant likelihood to purchase the public good relatively to control respondents. While those who did not have interaction have a lower WTP for the improvement of waste management. In the second essay, which is a join work with Luis Aranda, we investigate how cognitive abilities correlate with civic engagement of older Euro- peans (aged 50+), using waves two and three of the SHARE dataset. The results advocate for the existence of a causal relationship running from cognition in old age to community engagement. In the last essay, I compare whether the results from having an observer and an exemplar in a public good game are similar. To make this comparison, I employ a four-players finitely repeated public goods experiment on two directed star networks, observer and exemplar networks. I find evidence that the behaviours of players are statistically indistinguishable across network structures. However, the players who belong to the observer network are more willing to conform with the group behaviours, meaning that they will increase (reduce) the contributions if theirs are below (above) their groups average. Furthermore, I also find evidence that the contributing behaviours are more stable in the observer networks than in the exemplar network.

    Ana Balatel DEA 2014 M. Warglien Research Fellowship
    Ca' Foscari University

    Essays on Decision Making by Children and Adults on the Autistic Spectrum
    This thesis presents three essays on decision making by autistic individuals. In the first chapter we draw on the studies germane to decision making and autism to provide an extensive review focused on such crucial aspects as mentalizing, decision making under risk and uncertainty, learning in Autistic Spectrum Disorders (social learning; reinforcement learning), time (concept of time; intertemporal choice) and counterfactual emotions [Chapter I]. The review is followed by two related experimental studies with patient population: 'Effects of Counterfactual Emotions on Decision Making of Individuals on the Upper End of the Autistic Spectrum' [Chapter II] and 'Insights on Counterfactual Emotions of Autistic Individuals within Social Contexts' [Chapter III].

    Mariachiara Barzotto DEA 2014 A.Comacchio Research Fellowship
    Ca' Foscari University +

    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

    Individual’s agency in workplace social networks. Face-to-face communication behaviours
    The thesis focuses on the actions undertaken by individuals to activate the organisational structures in which they are embedded. The present study upholds the need to investigate individual’s behaviours within organisations for a deeper understanding of organisational processes micro-foundations. The dissertation blends social network analysis and case study methods, with a private incubator and its 10 start-ups as a research setting. RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) badges were used to capture the ways through which employees mobilise the resources at their disposal within the organisation. The use of RFID technology has enabled the monitoring, with high-resolution, of the effort in terms of face-to-face interaction undertaken by a 91-subject network. Essay I deals with individual’s ambidexterity. Essay II focuses on the relational styles used by brokers (compared to non-brokers) to activate workplace social networks, both instrumental and affective ones. Finally, Essay III analyses the use of “fleeting” face-to-face interactions among employees and the determinants of this communication behaviour, important in activating organisational resources.

    Inga Jonaityte DEA 2014 M. Warglien Research Fellowship
    Ca' Foscari University

    Visual Representation and Financial Decision Making
    This thesis explores connections between visual representation and financial decision making. It focuses on how the choice of visual representation and content affects the way people allocate attention, and how they process, perceive, and act upon presented information. In the first essay, "Interplay of Visual Representation, Financial Literacy, and Investment Experience in Financial Decision Making", we consider how certain irrational financial behaviors simply originate from having too much variation in financial information communication. In the second essay, "Experts’ and Novices’ Judgment in Retail Finance", we explore in detail the conditions of widespread suboptimal financial decision making. In the third essay, "Effects of Salient Cues and Changing Environments on Performance in Multi-attribute Visual Inference Tasks", we investigate the effects of salient cues and environment structure dynamics on learning.

    Aditi Vidyarthi DEA 2014 T. Vescovi/S.Bhushan Dash International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Hyderabad, India

    Factors Affecting Purchase of Necessity Brands: The Influence of Consumer Characteristics and Global vs Local Brand Perceptions Among Indian Consumers
    Necessity products have gained attention in market research due to the declining growth in their sales in India. There are very few works till date that comprehensively explore the factors affecting purchase of necessity brands. Drawing on the theory of product classification based on social visibility, publicly and privately consumed necessity brands have been identified in the Indian context. The research attempts to examine factors affecting purchase of both categories of necessity brands, the influence of brand name, the ethnocentric factors and different personal characteristics i.e. demographic variables of consumers affecting purchase of necessity brands.

    Claudio Biscaro DEA 2013 M. Warglien/A.Comacchio Johannes Kepler University

    Wiring knowledge. Metaphors, boundaries and scientific performance
    The topic of the dissertation is knowledge combination that is key for innovation and knowledge generation. It comprises three chapters. In the first chapter, we longitudinally study the activity of a group of scientists and we identify that metaphors are used to coordinate both disciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge creation. In the second chapter, through a method based on the analysis of textual networks, we show how to visualize the dynamics of conceptual relations among disciplines in a collective process of invention and we identify concepts that bridge them. In the third chapter, we study how the structure of co-authorship network and the position of the articles in the literature affect their scientific impact.

    Sonia Foltran DEC 2013 M. Padula Simon-Kucher & Partners

    Empirical models of innovation, diversity and firms’ behavior
    This dissertation focuses on firms' innovation, diversity and behaviour. The first chapter highlights how the relation between competition and innovation can additionally be shaped by the structure, distribution and heterogeneity of knowledge across competing innovators. We provide panel data evidence using data on the evolution of multi-dimensional features and attributes of pdas and smartphones. The second chapter explores the implications of the diversity of R&D sources on firm innovativeness, focusing on the different impact on financially constrained and unconstrained firms. Finally, the third chapter deals with the impact of legal institutions on creditor's protection, firms' innovation and access to credit in Italy.

    Pietro Lanzini DEA 2013 A. Stocchetti Research Fellowship
    Ca' Foscari University

    Consumer behavior and sustainability. Three essays on pro-environmental spilloverk
    The thesis focuses on the so-called spillover effect in the environmental domain, or the tendency of individuals adopting a specific green behavior to behave environment-friendly even in other, not related contexts. Different psychological mechanisms explaining this process have been singled out in literature (e.g.: Self Perception Theory, Cognitive Dissonance Theory, etc). However, there is no general agreement neither on the strength nor on the drivers of spillover. The work first adds empirical evidence to the ongoing debate, through a real-life experiment aimed at testing the existence of the spillover effect. Then, it provides a value added to literature by focusing on the role played by specific factors (so far neglected) in hindering or spurring spillover. To this end, between summer and autumn of 2012, 260 undergraduate students from the University of Århus (Denmark) have been recruited and participated in a panel study based on online surveys filled in twice: before and after the experimental intervention. The latter consisted of encouraging the uptake of a specific green behavior (purchase of sustainable products) for a period of 6 weeks, investigating the effects on different behavioral domains and the role played by variables such as incentives or habits. Results show how spillover effect exists, although limited to simple and painless behaviors; moreover, its magnitude is strongly affected by internal variables such as individual habits, whereas external factors like different types of incentives (monetary vs praise rewards) only play a marginal role.

    Arya Srustidhar Chan web DEC 2013 S. Currarini Indian Statistical Institute

    Three Essays on Cheap Talk
    The three essays in this thesis are based on strategic communication associated with the Cheap Talk literature. The first essay is a discussion of strategic communication that arises in the classical resource allocation problem. The second essay focuses on Cheap Talk where the signals of the senders and the receiver are correlated. The third essay explores the theme where a sender while transmitting the information takes into account that the information may be leaked by the receiver to third party.

    Caterina Cruciani DEC 2013 M. Bernasconi Ca' Foscari University

    Three Essays on Group Dynamics, Other-regarding Preferences and Cooperation
    This thesis addresses dynamics of other-regarding preferences emerging in informal contexts, where clear commitments among individuals are not possible. The first paper tests experimentally if groups remain more self interested than individuals when consuming a renewable resource, building on the empirical evidence on the bystander effect. The other two papers build on two different ideas of similarity to address whether perceived similarity can be a driver of trust or cooperation. An experimental analysis introduces partner selection in a trust game to check whether other-regarding preferences in informal environments benefit from this feature, while at the same time controlling for similarity as a driver of increased trust, following on the literature of minimal group paradigm and in-group out-group bias. In the third paper similarity is shown to be a successful driver of increased cooperation in a simulation environment, when individuals may freely join and leave informal groups.

    Matija Kovacic DEC 2013 C. Zoli (Verona University) Research Fellowship
    Ca' Foscari University

    Ethnic Distribution, Effective Power and Ethnic Conflict SIE mention among the best thesis of the 2014 edition
    The thesis investigates both in theoretical and empirical terms the relationship between ethnic distribution and the probability of conflict. The first chapter is the introduction to the thesis in which I briefly summarize the main problems related to the existing literature on ethnic diversity and conflict and present an overview of the measures of ethnic diversity commonly used in the literature. In the second chapter I propose a theoretical model that specifies the potential of conflict in a society as a function of the population distribution across ethnic groups. I argue that the relative importance of each pattern of ethnic diversity depends on the trade-off between groups' power and between-groups interaction. Following the Esteban and Ray's [On the measurement of polarization, Econometrica, 62(4), 1994] approach to social antagonism, I axiomatically derive a parametric class of indices of conflict potential that combines the groups' effective power and the between-groups interaction. I use a discrete metric to define the distances between groups and I do not treat each group as a unitary actor. Moreover, I assume that the effective power of a group depends not only on its own relative size but also on the relative size of all the other groups in the population. I show that for certain parameter values the obtained indices reduce to the existing indices of ethnic diversity, while in general the derived indices combine in a non-linear way three different aspects of ethnic diversity, namely the fractionalization, the polarization and the ethnic dominance. The power component of the extreme element of the class of indices is given by the relative Penrose-Banzhaf index of voting power. In the third chapter I investigate empirically the role of ethnic diversity in the explanation of ethnic conflict outbreak. The empirical performance of the indices of conflict potential developed in the second chapter is tested against the existing distributional indices of ethnic diversity within the context of the commonly used logistic model that focuses on the onset of ethnic conflicts in a time range from 1946 to 2005. Together with the set of the explanatory variables for structural conditions and country characteristics, I take advantage of the recent "Ethnic Power Relations" data set which includes additional information on the political exclusion and competition along ethnic lines and it offers the best coding for ethnic wars. The results show that the derived extreme index outperforms the existing indices of ethnic diversity in the explanation of ethnic conflict onset. This evidence is robust to the inclusion of a larger set of regressors, time and regional controls as well as to several other estimation techniques. The fourth chapter explores empirically the determinants of ethnic conflict duration with particular attention to the potential role of ethnic diversity together with ethnic politics and competition dynamics. The first part of the chapter presents an overview of the existing literature on conflict duration, the main data sources and the related econometric issues. The second part of the chapter consists in a non-parametric and a parametric survival analysis of the duration of ethnic conflicts where I address in detail the issues of non-proportionality of the hazard function, the unobserved heterogeneity and the presence of "repeated events". The results suggest that there is a statistically significant and robust association between ethnic distribution and conflict duration, together with other commonly used explanatory variables in the literature on conflict duration.

    Breno Pietracci DEC 2013 A. Brugiavini Post Doctoral Fellow Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

    Essays on the Microeconomics of Bioenergy
    This thesis explores the microeconomics of bioenergy with focus on Brazil. The three chapters are interconnected by this thread. The first chapter investigates empirically land use patterns for liquid biofuels production in Brazil using the neoclassical land use model. It analyzes the determinants of sugarcane and soybean production location. The second chapter inquire empirically, using regional variables, location and capacity decision drivers for ethanol and biodiesel mills in Brazil. The third chapter proposes a microeconomic framework for modeling several types of bioenergy production. It provides a definition of bioenergy clusters and tests it employing statistical cluster analysis considering three different bioenergy production chains.

    Marisa Agostini DEA 2012 C. Saccon/G. Favero Ca' Foscari University

    Learning about firms' failing path - An explanation through annual reports information
    Learning about failure represents a sort of thread between the three chapters. My interest toward this topic arose during the first year of my Ph.D. program by reading some literature (e.g. Thornhill and Amit, 2003). These considerations represent an important premise of my work whose aim is to address an issue recently pointed out (Cybinski, 2001): understanding, rather than only predicting, enterprise failure presents an enormous theoretical challenge that, at the moment, has largely gone unanswered. So, the first chapter examines failure as a path and emphasizes relations between time dimension, failure stages and accounting information. The second chapter puts under the magnifying glass the path to failure of Sunbeam Corp. which has emerged as an outlier from the statistical analysis conducted in the first chapter. Lastly, the third chapter analyzes the fraud and no-tort cases considered in the first chapter from a different point of view: it examines FASB outstanding exposure draft on a proposed standard on management’s responsibility to evaluate a company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

    Nicola Dalla Via DEA 2012 M. Vedovato/P. Collini RSM Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Three essays in behavioral management accounting
    The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to the literature focused on issues related to the behavior of individuals involved in management accounting tasks. The work is composed by an introductory chapter and
    three empirical papers. Chapter 1 proposes a historical review of the studies on behavioral management accounting and control. Chapter 2 examines how the introduction of subjective performance measures in a
    biannual incentive system leads to evaluation biases. In particular, the findings show that supervisors’ performance evaluations are subject to a trade-off between an informative and a rewarding function. Chapter 3 investigates whether sticky cost behavior is recognized under different presentation formats. Finally, Chapter 4 studies how strategic decisions are influenced by the adoption of a causal chain in a balanced scorecard and by the introduction of different types of accountability (process vs. outcome).

    Ender Demir DEA 2012 U. Rigoni Istanbul Medeniyet University

    Three papers on sports Economics
    In the first paper, I explore the behavioral pattern of bettors on their betting choices for draws by using the FIFA 2010 World Cup data collected from Turkish fixed odds betting market. Data shows that there is a draw bias among bettors as they prefer to bet mostly on win of a side. Experiments indicate that the draw bias can be explained by the preferences rather than the probabilistic judgment. The second paper considers the game-related performance of two listed soccer clubs of Italy namely Roma and Lazio. I introduce the performance of arch-rival in the analysis. When club supporters are experiencing the negative performance of their team, the news coming from the arch-rival results can change their investment decisions. The third paper implements the Fibonacci sequence on draws as a betting rule. As the odds offered by bookmakers are narrowly distributed, implementing the Fibonacci strategy for 8 soccer leagues of Europe for 4 seasons yields positive return for all cases.

    Anna Moretti DEA 2012 F. Zirpoli Ca' Foscari University

    Three Essays on network failure, coordination and cooperation
    Networks are pervasive in social life, and thus the investigation of their evolutionary dynamics, as well as coordination and cooperation mechanisms at the bases of their functioning, have attracted a lot of interest. Research in this field still presents some gaps, notwithstanding the substantial development of theories of network governance in the last decades, from Powell's (1990) seminal call for a “new conceptual toolkit” to study network forms as akin to markets and hierarchies. The analysis of political considerations in the study of network forms of governance is still underdeveloped, and it needs to find an integration with the more traditional approaches to the research on network advantages as well as on its problems and dysfunctionalities. This dissertation endeavors to contribute to the literature on network governance bridging different existing sociological and organizational theories. Specifically, the focus is on how political considerations can give precious insights to the study of networks development, and how coalitions formed within and across organizational boundaries can affect the evolution of cooperation.

    Giulia Trombini DEA 2012 A. Comacchio Cisco

    Technology licensing in markets for ideas: empirical evidence from the biopharmaceutical industry
    While past research has advanced our understanding of the reasons leading firms to access markets for ideas and helped frame phenomena such as the division of innovative labour and the rise of technology specialist firms (Arora et al., 2001; Gans & Stern, 2003), less is known on the functioning of markets relative to license formation and contract structuring. Notwithstanding the importance of investigating what drives two partners to enter into a license partnership and how license contracts are to be structured, few empirical studies have attempted to tackle these research questions (Kim & Vonortas, 2006; Anand & Khanna, 2000; Bessy & Brousseau, 1998). This dissertation aims to provide a micro-level analysis of firms’ licensing practices. In order to fill the gap in the literature, the study shifts the level of analysis from that of a focal firm, usually adopted by past literature, to that of the dyad. The research setting selected for the study is the global biopharmaceutical industry over the period 1985-2004. The first paper inquires the mechanisms underlying license formation, namely what brings two firms to enter into a license partnership. Drawing on past licensing and innovation literature, the study’s central idea is that license formation is the outcome of two opposing forces: technology collaboration and market competition.
    The second paper introduces the concept of licensing combination and investigates when technology partners combine the license with R&D contract and minority equity links in order to maximize technology cooperation. The study proposes a new conceptualization of licensing that goes well beyond the traditional view of a marketbased transaction for the exchange of IP rights, enriching the recent literature on license optimal structuring. The third article analyzes one of the crucial structural choices of a license contract, namely the payment scheme the licensor and licensee agree upon. The paper provides an overview of how different price schemes allow license partners to cope with uncertainty, asymmetric information and contract incompleteness

    Hao Chen DEO 2012 A. Brugiavini/N. Pace Shengjing360 Consulting Training Group

    Three Essays in Chinese Reforms and Household Savings
    In this dissertation, we study three issues in Chinese reforms and household saving decisions. In Chapter 1, we review the existing studies on the relation between various of the Chinese reforms and the household saving decisions. Chapter 2 focus on the housing finance reform effect on the saving rate. Using the two-step estimation procedure, we find that as a pillar of the housing finance reform, the Housing Accumulation Fund positively affect the household saving rate and the home ownership. In Chapter 3, we discuss the effect of the health care reform occurred in 1998. We find that the 1998 reform makes the urban households be less protected and induced them to save more in order to deal with potential future health care expenditure due to health shocks.

    Laura Concina website

    DEC 2012 Michele Bernasconi Toulouse School of Economics

    Three Essays on Leadership and Cooperation in Public Good Games
    The issues explored in this thesis concerns public good games. We tackle the topic from different prospectives focusing on leadership and cooperation. Each chapter considers public good games from different angles. In the first chapter, we analyse reference dependent agents (that use a reference point to determine their choices) and standard agents who interact in simultaneous or in sequential public good situations. The second chapter consists of a sequential repeated public good experiment where subjects participate to a competitive mechanism to become leader in a group. Finally, in the third chapter, we study the implication of non- and semi-parametric methods in the re-analysis of two well-known public good experiments.

    Alvise Favotto DEA 2012 M. Bergamin/C. R. Emmanuel University of Glasgow

    Three Essays On Reward System Design For Mid-Level Managers
    This work includes three essays. Essay 1 explores how middle level managers from a multinational company operating in the service sector perceive different elements of the reward system they are offered. Specifically, we examine whether and how perceptions may vary across groups of individuals at different organizational levels. We attempt to provide a comprehensive picture of the array of rewards offered to managers in the company setting, addressing the 'modality' of the reward construct through the multiple facet approach elaborated by Elizur (1984) and Elizur et al. (1991). The opinions of 1.771 managers were collected through a survey instruments derived from Elizur's work. Non-parametric statistical analysis leads to the identification of several significant differences in the perception of instrumental, cognitive and affective work outcomes. The findings suggest that affective and cognitive rewards are deficient for mid-echelon managers. Managerial groupings at the higher and lower mid level manager echelons held differing views. With this extended approach to capturing desired rewards, patterns of meaningful incentives emerge that help to specify the design of means to motivate mid level managers.
    Essay 2 extends this evidence, by investigating, through qualitative enquiry, the consequences of the introduction of mechanisms of personnel control on the control package designed for middle level managers. The empirical analysis was based on Merchant’s object-of-control framework about the different forms of management controls. Specifically, we documented the intended and unintended consequences of the introduction of ex ante control mechanisms associated with training on the provision of rewards for results, through a 3-years longitudinal case study on a single organization. Our evidence shows a two-stages interaction pattern in which the introduction of a control mechanism associated with training was triggered by outcomes generated by the existing control package, in terms of output controls. At the same time, unintended significances of the introduction called for a revision of existing ex-post control tools.
    Essay 3, investigates whether and how the perception of the ’internal ethical environment’ (Trevino et al., 1998) varies across groups of managers at different hierarchical levels. We drew on research on social and organizational identity to investigate whether and how different views on the ethical environment are retained by different sub-groups of managers within a single organization. Extant research suggests that senior managers are likely to express significantly more positive perceptions of organizational ethics when compared with employees in non-managerial positions, however it remains silent on middle and lower managers’ perception of ethical environment, even though these managers act as ’linking pins’, possibly influencing ethical decision-making and behaviour of other organizational members, both upwards and downwards. Data from over 1500 respondents were collected in a national branch of a US-based, FTSE4GOOD organization, operating in the service sector. Our findings suggest that perception of the ethical environment varies significantly across groups of organizational members. Consistent with our predictions, senior managers are likely to hold a rosier perspective of the environment for ethics, while less favourable attitudes are manifested by middle- and lower-level managers. However, the perception of the internal ethical environment fails to be a “top-down phenomenon” in our research setting.

    Dmitry Levando DEO 2012 Sergio Currarini HSE

    Essays on Trade and Cooperation
    The dissertation  is devoted to non-cooperative game theory. It consists of   two surveys, one on strategic market games, another on non-cooperative coalition formation and two research papers. One research paper studies  mixed strategies for strategic market games with wash sales, another offers an self-financed enforcement mechanism for non-cooperative coalition formation. Chapter 1 presents a survey on strategic market games. Chapter 2  presents the  model of mixed strategies in strategic market game with wash sales. Chapter 3 presents a survey on coalition formation, including cooperative and non-cooperative approaches. Chapter 4 presents a model of non-cooperative coalition formation with self-financed enforcement mechanism.

    Vahid Mojtahed website

    DEC 2012 M. LiCalzi/P. Pellizzari Ca' Foscari University

    Three Essays in Microeconomics
    This dissertation presents three essays in Microeconomics. In Chapter one, I present a model of persuasive advertising over differentiated products in a duopoly. Each firm tries to increase the weight that the consumers attach to the dominant attribute of its product in which it has an advantage. Persuasion is the outcome of a communication between the firms and the consumers, where the subjective weight vector is changed accordingly. I show that if the consumers are naïve or the advertising technology is effective, there is a Perfect Equilibrium, where firms earn a higher profit than they would by not advertising because they can further differentiate their products. I also show that duopolists regard their product as strategic substitute or complement depending on their current market share.
    Chapter two studies an extension of the model of Rubinstein (1993) to two firms, competing in a market with consumers who are boundedly rational with respect to processing information. The cognitive bound compels customers to partition the price space. Rubinstein shows that a monopolist can earn a higher profit by exploiting consumers' lack of processing ability. I extend his model to a duopoly, and show the Nash and Correlated equilibria of the game. I prove that in competition, whether firms choose their strategies independently or dependently, firms' joint profit is lower than in a monopoly but does not vanish completely. Both the uncertainty regarding the consumers' cutoff point and the differences across firms' prices impel firms to set their prices equal to the marginal cost.
    In Chapter three, I propose an extended market for Green Certificates as an incentive scheme for investors and producers of electricity from Renewable Energy Sources. I derive the optimal buying and selling strategies of the agents in the market and the closed-form solution of the market-clearing price by applying the Certainty Equivalence principle. The stochastic dynamic programming of the model is approximated numerically under the iso-elastic demand function, and the life-history of the plan is simulated. I show that the mean and variance of prices depend on the rules set by the regulator at the beginning of the policy. The results indicate that when rational sellers follow their optimal strategy, the price fluctuation is reduced in comparison to the fluctuations of the flow of certificates.

    Gabriele Paolacci website
    DEA 2012 M. Warglien/K. Burson Erasmus University Rotterdam

    Four Essays in Consumer Decision-Making
    The dissertation is composed of four essays. 1. Inherent, constructed, revealed Preferences: Guidelines for marketers. After reviewing the debate on consumer preferences, I suggest concrete steps that marketers can use to measure inherent preferences and exploit context effects. 2. The Intermediate Alternative Effect: Considering a small tradeoff increases subsequent willingness to make large tradeoffs. We propose and show that the “endowment effect” can be reduced by first providing consumers with the choice between keeping their endowment and trading it of an “intermediate” option. 3. Same world, different perceptions: Systems of measurement affect judgments. We propose and show that citizens of different countries perceive differently semantically equivalent information because they use different systems of measurement. 4. Online experimentation: Amazon Mechanical Turk. We validate Mechanical Turk as a subject pool and discuss extensively its advantages and causes of concern.

    Francesco Pesci DEC 2012 Guido Cazzavillan Ca' Foscari University

    Three Essays on Asymmetric Information in Financial Markets
    In the present work we discuss how asymmetric information affects asset prices and information acquisition in financial markets.
    In Chapter 1 we study how a "bubble" can emerge in a market, in which “intermediaries” deal with sellers and buyers of an asset. We analyze how “second-order” uncertainty can "fuel" bubbles, under the assumptions that the supply of asset is limited and short-sales are not allowed.
    In Chapter 2 we examine how asymmetric information and liquidity (or wealth) can affect the acquisition of information in financial markets. We analyze a general setting, in which some agents, which we name sellers, can both "verify the quality" of and invest in an asset, where by "verify the quality" of the asset we mean to acquire information about the future cash-flow from the asset. We show that the presence of potential buyers, who have no liquidity constraints and who cannot verify the quality of the asset, induces sellers not to acquire information about the future value of asset, before investing in it.
    In Chapter 3 we survey theoretical literature concerned with conditions under which bubbles can emerge in financial markets, in which traders do not have the same information or do not behave on the base of the same information.

    Yuri Pettinicchi website

    DEC 2012 Mario Padula Goethe University

    Three Essays in Financial Literacy
    This dissertation focuses on the effects of financial literacy on individual financial behaviour, within a general equilibrium framework. Through a simple asset pricing model with heterogeneous beliefs about future prices, I analyze three different features: the information acquisition process, the market participation choice and the financial literacy production. I check the effects of financial literacy improving policies on individual welfare. Furthermore, I provide policy implications, especially with respect to the market stability.

    Paolo Tasca DEA 2012 Paolo Pellizzari ETH Zürich

    Diversification, Leverage and Systemic Risk
    The Thesis investigates from a theoretical perspective the relationship between leverage, diversification and systemic risk. Moving from the folk wisdom that asset diversification enhances financial stability by dispersing credit risks, we contribute to the debate shedding light on a critical facet of this strategy. First a representative leveraged investor is considered. Under the standard framework of asset pricing theory in a frictionless, arbitrage-free and complete market, we show that maximum diversification may increase the default risk. Then, we consider a financial system of interconnected banks whose assets include also securities outside the financial network. We show that diversification in external assets displays a knife-edge effect: beyond a certain range, it may induce financial instability. Finally, we found that in presence of procyclical capital requirements that create a positive feedback loop between leverage and asset prices, the knife-edge property is amplified.

    Umberto Rosin DEA 2011 Francesco Casarin Ca' Foscari University

    The Economy of Passion
    The world values are changing at a fast pace and intrinsic motivation becomes more and more important in organizational behavior and economics (Frey, 1997). A recent sociological trend reflects the emergence of freedom in making life choices with the aim of achieving self-expression and well-being in the most economically developed countries (Inglehart & Welzel, 2005). Passion, as an expression of life satisfaction and self-realization, is becoming an important driver in determining life activity choices. Being the first study to apply the dualistic model of passion (Vallerand et al., 2003) in Italy, the present research addresses the inadequacy of managerial literature to deal with the increasing role of passion for activities by bridging psychological and managerial theories. The first exploratory case study builds on theory by proposing a new industry model, named “high passion intensity industries”. Passion as a main determinant of choices and authenticity are its main characteristics. The second study enriches the tribal marketing perspective (Cova and Cova, 2002) by introducing a new “tribal subject” in the theory: the “tribes of professionals”. The focus is shifted from consumers onto professionals (salesperson, wholesale distributors, manufacturers, etc.), and evidence of shared passion, networking connections, and presence of tribal elements are retrieved from collected data. The starting point for the third study is the apparent contradiction between what the literature suggests and what collected data show in terms of economic performance. According to the literature, the typical characteristics of high passion intensity industries (emotional and passion contagion, display of naturally felt emotions, prevalence of passion over profit in decision-making processes, etc.) should lead to a better service encounter and sales performance. On the other hand, economic data from the analyzed empirical context (the Italian board game industry) show a negative performance. The job design characterizing the Italian specialized board game stores is deemed responsible for such a negative performance, in that it does not value nor exploit its core resource: passion. Experiential marketing strategies are proposed to re-design the business model, removing those obstacles preventing passion from being expressed  to its full potential.

    Hasan Engin Duran DEC 2011 Stefano Magrini Izmir Institute of Technology

    Short-run dynamics of income disparities and cycle synchronization across regions
    Since the 1990s, the issue of regional income convergence and its long term tendencies has been thoroughly and heatedly discussed. Far less attention, however, has been devoted to the short-run dynamics of regional convergence. The present thesis is devoted to explicitly studying the short-run dynamics of regional income disparities; in particular to the interconnections between regional income inequalities and the aggregate business cycle as well as to the interactions among disaggregate and aggregate economic fluctuations in the US. In the first chapter, we characterize the short-run behavior of income inequalities across states and investigate the mechanisms behind such behavior. In Chapter 2, we investigate whether and why some economies might be systematically ahead of others along the swings of the business cycle. Chapter 3 aims at evaluating the distortion introduced in the cross-sectional analysis of economic convergence when the period under study contains incomplete business cycles.

    Siddharth Mohapatra DEA 2011 Chiara Saccon  

    Earnings management, human rationality, and relative deprivation : some critical assessments
    Although lawful, the widespread use of earnings management in financial reporting, as noted by Arthur Levitt (the former Chairman of the US SEC), gives reasons to believe that companies may be indulging in illegally manipulating earnings instead of managing them prudently. What motivate it are not straightforward because the nature of human motivation is complex. Although, earnings management is deemed an intentional action, wherein company decision-makers use managerial discretions and judgments to achieve desired earnings numbers; yet nothing has been said beyond this. In this empirical study, based on a real case, using vignettes in a Web-survey as the method of investigation (i.e., a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches) we have attempted to study relative deprivation – i.e., people’s reaction to objective situations depends on their subjective comparisons – as one of the causes behind decision-makers’ reasoning process to manipulate earnings. Our findings are mixed in the sense that while answering if relative deprivation causes earnings management to stray into earnings manipulations, the respondents have rendered varied levels of support to it under two different situations. Notwithstanding, we have some interesting findings as regards relative deprivation effecting manipulative earnings management practices that can potentially set the roadmap for future research on causal correlates behind managing earnings, including manipulating them.

    Carmela D'Avino DEC 2011 Loriana Pelizzon Banque de France

    Banks: selected investigations on the roles of liquidity, globalization and credit risk
    The thesis presents three bank-related research studies inspired by some relevant events brought about by the recent subprime crisis. The first part of this work links banking-sector liquidity creation to both liquidity supply from central banks worldwide and international interbank liabilities, within a global macro-econometric framework. In the second part it is carried out a micro-econometric analysis on all global US banks with the intent to explain pre- and post-crisis dynamics in Net Inter-Office Accounts (NIOA). The last part of the thesis proposes a framework capable to model, among other things, inefficient policy interventions by a central banker during a crisis when an accurate assessment of the true solvency of a bank is unattainable.

    Oktay Surucu DEO 2011 Marco Li Calzi Luiss Guido Carli/Bielefeld University
    Three Essays on on Econmic Interactions under Bounded Rationality 2012 SIE award for the best thesis in Economics

    The issues explored in this work concern economic interactions under bounded rationality. Each chapter considers these interactions from different angles. The first chapter characterizes the optimal contract designed by an ordinary profit-maximizing monopoly when facing diversely bounded rational agents. The second chapter analyses the interaction between fully and boundedly rational agents in situations where their interests are perfectly aligned. Finally, the third chapter studies a model where a team of agents with limited problem-solving ability faces a disjunctive task over a large solution space.

    Theresa Beltramo DEO 2010 Stefano Magrini  
    Three Essays on Applied Microeconomics

    The dissertation contributes to the sub-disciplines of economics including Behavioral, Development and International Trade, and to a lesser extent, Environmental, Energy, and Health Economics. A common thread among all three empirical papers is the use of quantitative measures, instead of proxies, to quantify impacts or results. In the first dissertation paper, the authors quantify the main outcome indicators- wood usage, carbon monoxide inhalation, and solar oven usage with actual observed quantities. In the second paper the author uses a new trade costs model which derives international trade costs directly from observed trade flows for 26 nations. The model measures bilateral trade costs without making any assumption on the trade costs function and allows for economists to measure all the trade costs associated -both indirect and direct- with bringing a good to market. The third paper is able to evaluate peer effects on solar oven adoption by using an observed social network between women and their friends. The author uses observed solar oven usage data, measured by a microchip, and is able to measure peer effects by regressing the treatment group’s solar stove usage on that of the solar stove usage of her “Strong” and “Weak” friends who are in the treatment group. In each of the three works, the direct data on solar stove outcome indicators, international trade costs, and information networks allows the author to contribute to the recent small, but growing literature using observed micro-data to measure quantitatively a natural phenomenon in economics.

    Lucia Milone DEC 2010 Marco Li Calzi LUISS Guido Carli
    Three Essays in Agent-Based Market Analysis
    This thesis is composed of three papers that investigate the continuous double auction protocol (henceforth, CDA) given its relevance in real contests. Is commonly recognized that market protocol and trading behavior may influence economic performance; there is a (recent) growing literature that has focused on the effect of market rules, market environment and agent behavior on market outcome. My dissertation contributes to this literature. The bottom line is the make-take trade-off between exploit the most from transaction and increase the probability to trade; it characterizes the CDA since in this exchange protocol agents choose between limit and market orders that can be submitted at any time. We approach the analysis from two different (but complementary) perspectives. On one hand, we evaluate the market outcome according to different performance criteria; on the other hand, we behave as a market designer that search for market rules that will lead to a desired market outcome.  The first paper study the consequence on market performance of different behavioral assumptions about agents' trading strategies and pre-trade quote disclosure. Results show that a reaction to information available is beneficial but information disclosure alone is usually not enough to significantly increase the level of efficiency achieved in the market; a joint effect with an aggressive order placement strategy is needed. In a second contribution we tweak a resampling rule often used for the CDA exchange protocol (i.e., full resampling: books are cleared after each transaction) and search for an improvement design. We claim that fine-tuning the resampling rate is important to attain high allocative efficiency. Moreover, a resampling rule that cancel only outstanding orders that fall outside a price band around the best quotes is superior if we include additional criteria as a subordinate goal. The third paper deals with two different issues. On one side, it tries to determine if the equilibrium order placement strategies analytically derived in Foucault et al. (2005) are learnable by no-maximizing agents that update their strategies on the only base of their own past  experience (via genetic algorithm). Results state outcome (but not strategic) equivalence.  On the other side, it relaxes the assumption in the original model by Foucault for which cancellation is not allowed and evaluate market performance. Results are mixed; the introduction of a cancellation option turns out to be benecial dependently on the key determinants of the market dynamic (i.e., the arrival rate and the percentage of patient traders) and an additional setup variable: the initial level of order aggressiveness in the market.
    Alessandro Fontana DEC 2010 Loriana Pelizzon European Central Bank
    Essays on Credit Spreads

    The thesis consists of three interdependent and original works on the relationship between Credit Default Swaps (CDS) and bond spreads.
    Chapter 1 studies the behaviour of the CDS-bond basis, i.e. the difference between the CDS and the bond spread, for a sample of investment graded US firms. During the 2007/09 financial crisis it has deviated from zero and it has become persistently negative. The basis dynamics is driven by economic variables that are proxies for funding liquidity, credit markets liquidity and risk in the inter-bank lending market.
    Chapter 2 studies the determinants of market prices of Euro area sovereign CDS and the linkages between the CDS and the underlying government bond. Results support the evidence that there are major commonalities as well as differences between the corporate and sovereign CDS and bonds.
    Chapter 3 proposes a methodology for measuring the CDS-bond basis based on the bonds' cash-flows replication argument. A series of tests performed, on an hypothetical bond, shows how the error between this "arbitrage-free" measure and the standard measure of the basis depends on the term structure. An empirical application, on US corporate bonds, shows that the two measures exhibit a common behaviour and since the onset of the crisis in August 2007 they have become both negative, but the "arbitrage free" basis remains smaller in absolute terms.

    Domenico Fanelli DEO 2010 Antonella Ianni  
    Three Essays on Ethical Consumption and Social Responsabilty

    A recent literature on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in economics – reviewed in Chapter 1 – shows that not all the consumers who declare to be socially concerned purchase ethical products. Starting from such divergence we develop Chapters 2 and 3. In Chapter 2 we present a partial equilibrium model in which firms choose either to be ethical (to commit to CSR) or standard. The group of socially concerned (SC) consumers desire to have a market with ethical firms but they consider the goods produced by the two types of firms as entirely homogeneous. We investigate how the size of SC consumers group affects firms' decisions to commit to CSR. In Chapter 3, we present a general equilibrium model in which an increase in income may induce SC consumers to switch from standard to ethical products rather than consuming more of standard goods. The economy is divided into two sectors -- the standard and the ethical -- and only a group of workers receives a share of profits in addition to wages. We study the conditions under which there exists a virtuous circle which ties increases in the extent of the ethical sector to reductions in income inequality.

    Alessandro Tavoni DEO 2010 Carlo Carraro London School of Economics
    Essays on Fairness Heuristic and Environmental Dilemmas

    The issues explored in this work concern individual behaviour and its departure from the rationality paradigm. While different in terms of underlying methodology, the chapters share the unifying theme of fairness as a guiding principle for human behaviour, as well as a focus on its relevance for environmental dilemmas.

    Fabrizio Panebianco DEO 2010 Sergio Currarini University Bicocca, Milan
    Three Essays on Cultural Evolution

    Cultural Evolution, in economic literature, studies how preferences, beliefs, social norms or generic cultural traits are transmitted among agents and how they evolve during time, focusing on two key aspects: the coevolution between the social environment and the cultural traits analysed and the influences of social interactions on these processes. With social interaction influences it is usually meant how parents, family, school, friends, peers and other social elements have an impact on the cultural trait analysed. Economists developed a particular interest in these issues since they study the priors behind the choice mechanisms and the endogeneization of a preference dynamics. In this research I analyse three different issues related to cultural evolution: the intergenerational transmission of a cultural trait (interethnic attitude) with a focus on the role of social influences structure in this processes, the role of the evolution of interethnic preferences in the school ethnic segregation problem and, at last, the evolution of a generic social norm in an evolutionary game theoretic framework focusing on the payoff redistributive role that cultural evolution may have in these processes. Apart from the specific contributions of each chapter, the main objective of this study is to better understand how agents' attitudes, preferences and types can be considered endogenous in an economy, which rules they follow in their dynamics and which forces play a crucial role in shaping these rules.

    Gloria Gardenal DEA 2010 Giorgio Bertinetti/Guido Mantovani Sicra B&CF Sagl and Ca' Foscari University of Venezia
    Applied topics in financial agents' behavior

    The thesis is composed of three papers that investigate, using different perspectives, the financial agents’ behavior in the financial markets. The first paper is an experiment that aims to measure the impact of the financial contagion due to cross-market rebalancing. The study highlights that a shock in the prices of a stock traded in one market spreads to other unrelated markets but according to what the theory predicts. The laboratory shows the absence of irrational adjustments to the arrival of new information. The second paper is an empirical work that aims to detect possible relations between the idiosyncratic risk aversion, used as a proxy of the investors’ behavior, and the information risk, i.e. the risk due to the time needed by a piece of
    information to be understood and processed by the investors. The study highlights the absence of any linkages between these two variables, demonstrating that financial markets are efficient. The third paper is more firms-oriented. It’s an application to a specific market, the Italian North-East one, and tries to provide the (generic) private equiter with a criterion to select a target of firms in which to invest. The criterion we suggest uses the information provided by the financial reports and the utility concept. Our attempt is to overcome the difficulties to evaluate, using market data, not listed firms. Instead of using the comparables method, we propose an original technique.

    Patrizia Vecchi DEA 2010 Massimo Warglien University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy  

    Personality and social networks at work: Implications for managerial performance, commitment and network perception
    This dissertation is about social relations in organizations and their implications for individuals. The dissertation is divided into three parts. In the first part, I analyze the effects of individual structural positions within social networks and the effects of self-monitoring, a personality trait, on work performance. In the second part, I analyze the effects of social relations and self-monitoring on the degree of organizational commitment of the members of the organization. Finally, in the third part I analyze the effects of structural positions and self-monitoring on the degree of accuracy with which individuals perceive their social networks. I address all my research questions and test my hypotheses in the context of a large multinational company.

    Lorenzo Dorigo DEA 2010 Giuseppe Marcon  
     Social Enterprise and Stakeholder Governance. A comparison of the CSR performance in Single-stakeholder and Multi-stakeholder Structures

    In times of deep restructuring of the welfare systems, social enterprises have received the attention of practitioners and policy makers for the role of agents of the social change in the provision of a wide range of services for the sustainable regeneration of the local community. The purpose of the dissertation is threefold. The first two chapters aim to introduce the study of the social enterprises by reviewing and comparing main concepts and meanings affecting this term as they were emerged in the Western literature in the last decade. The third and fourth chapter provide a theoretical framework for the study of the social enterprise from a stakeholder perspective. Finally, last chapter presents, describes and analyzes findings from two multivariate analyses on the stakeholder involvement in a mixed sample of 64 small social co-operatives with single-stakeholder and multi-stakeholder structures.

    Elena Fumagalli DEC 2010 Agar Brugiavini
    University of East Anglia, UK

    Three essays in health and social participation
    The first chapter investigates how social participation of young children is affected by ethnic diversity. We find that segregation has a non negative effect on social participation, while fractionalization has a non positive effect. The latter is stronger when spontaneous participation is taken into account. The endogenous sorting problem is tackled by using an IV strategy.
    The second chapter is an evaluation of the folic acid fortification of cereals in the USA. Our estimates suggest an increase of serum folate concentration. We also compute quantile treatment effects finding variability in the impact distribution. Finally, we correct our findings by controlling for the change in dietary patterns.
    In the third chapter we analyze the prevalence of obesity in Egypt finding an increasing trend between 1992 and 2005 and a small decline after 2005. Our estimates show a positive correlation between high BMI and socio economic status as well as a positive age effect and a negative cohort effect.

    Claudio Giachetti DEA 2010 Andrea Stocchetti
    University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy

    Patterns of Imitation in the Adoption of Product Technologies: the Case of the Mobile Phone IndustryTechnology adoption processes have emerged as an important determinant of competitiveness in several industries. To maintain their competitiveness firms often monitor advances in product technology in relation to the adoption decisions of other firms in the industry. Benchmarking against the rest of the industry gives the firm useful reference points when it comes to deciding which product technologies to adopt, when, and to what extent the product technology will be used in the product range. In my dissertation I explore how firms respond to the introduction of new product technologies by industry rivals. In particular I follow a longitudinal approach to investigate how quickly firms adopt technologies introduced by competitors and which industry benchmarks firms use when adopting new product technologies. The research site is the mobile phone industry.

    Elisa Lanzi DEO 2010 Carlo Carraro
    OECD Environment Directorate

    Essays in Climate Change and Technical Change
    Characteristics of the economy such as the share of polluting sectors, and their pollution intensity are key to understanding how to limit costs of climate policies. In particular, this thesis focuses on four different aspects. The first is the increase in climate policy costs in the presence limited sectoral malleability of capital, and thus the impossibility to reallocate capital from the “dirty” to the “clean” sector. Second, we consider the influence of the sectoral coverage of climate policies such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Third, we focus on innovation within the energy sector to illustrate that there are internal dynamics that should be considered as they can lead to higher efficiency in the production of the dirty energy good. Finally, we estimate a model of directed technical change to study the effect of climate policies on the direction of technical change in the energy sector.

    Rune Midjord DEC 2010 Piero Gottardi
    University of the Basque Country

    Patterns of Imitation in the Adoption of Product Technologies: the Case of the Mobile Phone IndustryTechnology adoption processes have emerged as an important determinant of competitiveness in several industries. To maintain their competitiveness firms often monitor advances in product technology in relation to the adoption decisions of other firms in the industry. Benchmarking against the rest of the industry gives the firm useful reference points when it comes to deciding which product technologies to adopt, when, and to what extent the product technology will be used in the product range. In my dissertation I explore how firms respond to the introduction of new product technologies by industry rivals. In particular I follow a longitudinal approach to investigate how quickly firms adopt technologies introduced by competitors and which industry benchmarks firms use when adopting new product technologies. The research site is the mobile phone industry.

    Sara Maniero DEC 2009 Monica Billio
    Safilo SpA

    Essays on Transmission Mechanism in Real and Financial Markets: Evidence from Real Time Euro Data
    The transmission mechanism between real and financial variables has been studies from theoretical and empirical point of views. This thesis wants to look at which implications there will be when working with real series of data and financial type of data and the transmission mechanism that real and financial variable have one to the other. The purpose of applied studies can be summarized into two: one is to verify on the real world if a theoretical model is confirmed by the data, the second is to leave the data the possibility to explain economic phenomena. On empirical studies, that used time series type of data, the description of the variables involved on the analysis is always present. Usually the economic literature that involve real variable, when presenting the time series used on the analysis, do not mention which data publication has been used and the vintage effect of the data is ignored. This can be seen as a lack given that it is well know that when a Statistical Agency published a time series of a real variable, usually it adds to the previous publication the new observation of the time series, but at the same time, republished all the past data and sometimes with revised value. Contrary, this data publication timing issue, do not appear on empirical studies that involves financial data. Each time that a financial series is published, previous value are not revised. Revision on real variable can be motivated by new convention on variable definition or more commonly revision happen because on the variable computation more information are included. Financial variable when published already include all the available information and as new computation definition became necessary a construction of new financial variable is involved.

    Krzysztof Olszewski

    DEO 2009 Guido Cazzavillan National Bank of Poland

    Essays on the Effect of Foreign Direct Investment on Central and Eastern European Transition Economies  The first essay presents a growth model with skill-biased technological change and endogenous labor supply. The model is calibrated to empirical data from Poland and the US. It allows to predict the change of the labor market as a reaction to skill-biased technological change.  The second essay follows Arrow's idea of learning-by-doing, according to which knowledge is created as a by- product of investment. Knowledge is regressed against foreign direct investment, domestic investment and other variables. The regression confirms that both kind of investment lead to knowledge creation which enhances the production. The third essay focuses on the mutual enforcement between foreign direct investment and foreign financial services. Moreover, the nexus between foreign direct investment, domestic investment and growth of value added in the manufacturing sector in Transition Economies is investigated. The regressions indicate that foreign direct investment crowds domestic investment out. Similar as in the second essay, both kinds of investment  enhance total factor productivity.

    Marco Li Calzi
    Ca' Foscari University of Venice

    Four Essays on Market Structure under Corruption
    Corruption has received increased attention in the economic literature of the last two decades. However, due to the complexity of this phenomenon, there are still many controversies among the economists with respect to the implications that it has at socio-economic level. Structured in four chapters, the present thesis explores four aspects of corruption in the public sector, corresponding to four different economic situations. The first chapter analyzes the economic effects of bribe-payments in a privatization process and here we identify conditions under which bribe-payment can be “benefcial" since it becomes a mechanism of “positive selection" of the candidates to privatization. In the second chapter we concentrate on the effects that corruptibility can have on the allocation of goods. The third chapter watches how corruption influences market competition. We explore to what extent bribery is an alternative way of fighting rivals' entry on the market. Finally, in the fourth chapter, in an environment in which entry on the market is conditioned on firms satisfying environmental and safety requirements we explore to what extent the presence of corruption allows entry of irregular entrepreneurs.

    Carlo Carraro
    Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Venice, Italy

    Endogenous Technical Change and Climate Policy: Econometric Analysis and Stabilization
    The thesis introduces a methodology to measure different components of technical change. It starts with a model of production in which different forms of technical change coexist. It considers both neutral and factor augmenting technical change. The model with only factor augmenting technical change as used in the theory of directed technical change can be obtained as a special case of the general model. Using this setup, different forms of technical change are estimated from a system of factor demands, using a structural approach. Two definitions of factor augmenting technical change will be considered. First, technical change is assumed to be exogenous and its growth rate is estimated. Secondly, an endogenous component that allows to identify the sources of technical change is also included. The second part of the thesis integrates some of the empirical results found in the first part into two applied macroeconomic models for the analysis of trade and climate policies.

    Marco Li Calzi
    ENI Far East/Pacific Area
    Some strategic features of Resources Extraction

    In this thesis we analyze three distinct cases of resource extraction in which players behave strategically to bring about cooperation. In the first two chapters we concentrate on the exploration and production of Natural Gas; whereas in the third we focus on the exploitation of the mineral resources found in the deep-seabed. The three chapters are independent and can be read separately. In the first chapter we show that the manner in which capacity of an LNG Facility is assigned to firms exploring for Natural Gas in geologically correlated tracts, might help prevent firms from free-riding on the efforts of others. In the second we show that a host government, by deciding the timing of construction and size of the Trains that make up an LNG Facility, might prompt cooperation from an otherwise reluctant partner.In the third we study the development of the seabed under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and in particular the role that the distribution of benefits might have in encouraging capital-rich countries to invest in tailor-made technology and in preventing mineral-rich nations from ”bribing" fellow players to turn down an efficient agreement in a voting.

    Marco Li Calzi
    University of Florence, Italy
    Essays on Bilateral Trade with Incomplete Information:

    I study bilateral trade between privately informed traders under 3 perspectives. In Chapter 1, I start from the observation that in some situations the role of the agents as sellers or buyers is not definea a priori (apositional traders). I consider two mechanisms to determine the terms of trade in such a situation: Double Offer and Single Offer. I study the equilibria of these mechanisms and their welfare implications.
    The mechanisms in Chapter 1 are ex-post ineffcient. In Chapter 2, I obtain a suffcient condition that ensures the existence of an ex-post effcient mechanism that also satisfies the requirement of ex-post individual rationality. In Chapter 3, I consider a situation in which traders adopt very simple heuristic rules (pure mark-up and mark-down), that are consistent with the common idea of mark-up. I show how using these heuristics gives raise to an unexpected asymmetry and that sellers would be better off by adopting a different, equally simple, pure mark-up rule.

    Loriana Pelizzon
    Overseas Development Institute, London, UK 
    Essays on Stock Market Development and Economic Growth

    This dissertation contributes to the debate on two important issues in the macro-finance literature: the relationship between stock markets, reforms and economic growth, and the determinants of stock market development. The analysis is conducted within the context of the Middle East and Central Asia, an heterogeneous region that over the last decades has been characterized by a significant increase of its stock markets. Within the Middle East and Central Asia, special attention is devoted to Egypt, an emerging market that has recently earned a place among the best-performing stock markets worldwide and also among the top ten global reformers. The dissertation consists of three self-contained essays. The first paper “Finance-Growth Nexus: Evidence from a Top Global Reformer” is devoted to the analysis of the relationship between stock market development, economic growth and reforms in Egypt. The channels through which the stock market may affect the Egyptian economic activity are also examined. By developing a simple endogenous growth model and estimating multivariate VAR models, we find that there exists unidirectional causality running from stock market development to economic growth through the level of investment. Furthermore, there is evidence that the reforms launched by the Egyptian government impact directly on the liquidity of the stock market, which in turn increases the incentives for investment and boosts further economic growth. Given the important role that well-functioning stock markets may play on economic growth, the second paper“What Drives Stock Market Development in the Middle East and Central Asia ─ Institutions, Remittances, or Natural Resources” (joint work with A. Billmeier) investigates which are the main driving forces of stock market development in a regional perspective. In particular, we assess the macroeconomic determinants of stock market capitalization in a panel of 17 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, including both hydrocarbon-rich countries and economies without sizeable natural resource wealth. In addition to traditional variables, we include an institutional variable and remittances among the regressors. We find that (i) both institutions and remittances have a positive and significant impact on market capitalization; and (ii) both regressors matter, especially in countries without significant hydrocarbon sectors; whereas (iii) in resource-rich countries, stock market capitalization is mainly driven by the oil price.Finally, the third paper “Go Long or Short in Pyramids? News from the Egyptian Stock Market” (joint work with A. Billmeier) focuses again on Egypt and analyzes the Egyptian stock market from two angles. First, given that extraordinary increases in stock prices are historically often associated with the existence of speculative bubbles, it compares the performance of the major Egyptian stock price index with its underlying fundamentals. Second, it explores the relationship between the Egyptian and other stock markets in the region and elsewhere. The results show that (i) there is some evidence against a stable relationship between the Egyptian index and its fundamental value; and (ii) short-term correlations and long-term cointegrating relations provide conflicting signals on the value of Egyptian stocks as a means of diversification. 

    Jose Brambila DEC 2008 Guido Cazzavillan Trade and Markets Division, FAO, Rome, Italy

    Essays on the Informal Sector and Economic Growth
    My Thesis analyzes the effects of the informal sector on economic growth and their possible interactions in the Mexican economy through remittances and illegal immigration. It consists of three papers.
    My first essay, “The Dynamics of Parallel Economies. Measuring the Informal Sector in Mexico”, uses a monetary method to estimate the size of informality and its effects on economic growth. Given that the variables used are integrated of order 1, I estimate the size and the evolution of the Mexican informal economy in the last three decades (1970-2006) using a vector error correction model. In addition to the standard explanatory variables traditionally used in the currency demand approach, I include remittances given their relevance in the Mexican economic system. The results indicate that informality prior to the late 1980’s accounted for at least two thirds of GDP, while stabilizing around one third of GDP in the last decade. Furthermore, I find evidence of a positive relationship between the informal sector and economic growth. On my second essay, “Modeling the Informal Economy in Mexico. A Structural Equation Approach”, I investigate the evolution of the Mexican informal economy. In order to do so, I model the informal economy as a latent variable and try to explain it through relationships between possible cause and indicator variables using structural equation modeling (SEM). The results confirm the previous exercise, and indicate that the Mexican informal sector at the beginning of the 1970’s accounted for 40 percent of GDP while slightly decreasing to stabilize around 30 percent of GDP in the late 1980’s until our days. The model uses tax burden, salary levels, inflation, unemployment and excessive regulation as potential incentives or deterrents for the informal economy. The results confirm in particular the importance of salaries and excessive regulation as causes of the informal economy in Mexico, and confirm a positive relation between informality and GDP. For my third essay, “Remittances, Migration and Informality in Mexico. A Simple Model”, I develop a simple endogenous growth model in order to study the possible interactions of remittances and migration on the Mexican economic growth, and in particular their effects through the informal sector. Remittances play a crucial role on enhancing the Mexican resource constraint, while the possibility of migration in the informal sector drains the aggregate labor force. However, the magnitude of potential remittances may offset this loss.

    Sergiy Gerasymchuk DEO 2008 Marco Li Calzi ORTEC Finance, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Reference Dependence and Social Interactions in Agent-Based Models of Financial Markets
    The Ph.D. thesis is devoted to the study of two economic phenomena, namely reference dependence and social interactions, applied to financial markets. In Chapter 1 we study S-shaped utility maximization for the standard portfolio selection problem. We derive a mean-variance criterium of choice, which preserves reference dependence and the reflection effect. Subsequently we study diversification possibilities and obtain the demand for the risky asset. The model of a financial market presented in Chapter 2 assumes heterogeneity of agents with respect to both their reference points and their beliefs. We analyze the impact of the former layer of heterogeneity on the asset return and wealth dynamics. The results reveal that different reference points of the agents can lead to market instabilities and persistent trading volume even if their beliefs are kept homogeneous. In Chapter 3 we propose a model of a financial market populated with heterogeneous belief agents. Every period each agent chooses a predictor of the future price on the basis of the past performance of own and alternative strategies of the directly connected to her agents. Using the rewiring procedure we construct four types of commonly considered networks and investigate the effects of their topology on the asset price dynamics. We show that network structure does influence price dynamics due to the different speed of information exchange.

    Elisabetta Trevisan DEC 2008 Giuseppe Tattara Tilburg University, The Netherlands

    Effects of Employment Protection Legislation on Employment Dynamics
    The topic of the dissertation is the analysis of the effects of Employment Protection Legislation on the employment dynamics. In the first chapter, the evaluation of a Spanish reform occurred in 1997 has been performed. In particular, I evaluate the impact of the introduction of new permanent contracts with lower firing costs on the perceived job security of the workers. A reduction in the level of protection increases the perceived job security of workers with less than 30 years of age. In the second chapter, I present a model determining under which conditions a firm decides to upsize or not and whether to hire a permanent or a temporary workers, when EPL is variable enforced depending on firm size. The empirical analysis on the Veneto case shows that firms close to the threshold size are not scared to upsize, but if they decide to upsize they prefer to hire temporary rather than permanent workers. The last chapter investigates the impact of job mobility and tenure on wage variability. The comparison between Denmark and Veneto highlights that for Denmark, high mobility has a positive impact on wage increases, while built up on firm specific human capital has a negative impact. In Veneto, instead, it appears that long tenure is more rewarding than to change job. These last results holds also for the within Veneto analysis, where we compare small and big firms.

    Laura Frigotto DEA 2007 Maurizio Rispoli University of Trento, Italy

    Organizations Facing the Unexpected.
    This doctoral thesis tackles the phenomenon of the unexpected in organizations. As a general rule, organizations arrange their operations and their knowledge on relevant states of the world, on the basis of expectations, which are the result of organizational experience and previous learning process. Organizational expectations and competence, though, are constructed assuming that future challenges will consist of replications of the past ones. When this does not happen, organizations are taken unawares by unexpected events. We provide a twofold analysis of the unexpected based on a case study analysis and on simulations run on an original model of decision making in novel contexts in the individual and collective dimension. Our findings show that more knowledge is not the answer, as even the most peculiar learning strategies are always constrained within the boundaries of existing knowledge. The unexpected may be better captured by a vast access to distributed specialized knowledge supported by the exploration of diverse framings of the problem and by their broadcasting.

    Marcella Lucchetta DEC 2007 Agar Brugiavini / Loriana Pelizzon European Central Bank,Frankfurt am Main

    Three Essays on Banking Sector Stability: Theoretical Models and Empirical Application
    This thesis consists of three interdependent and original works on the relation between a single bank behavior and the overall banking sector stability in response to monetary policy, minimum capital requirement and merger waves. A theoretical model explains the impact of minimum capital requirement on bank risk taking behavior. Minimum capital, through the effect on the interbank interest rate, has the perverse effect to increase bank risk taking behavior. Moreover, minimum capital must increase as the risk-free interest rate rises. Then, the magnitude of the interest rates to affect banks behavior is empirically assessed. Finally, a chapter tests empirically a model which highlights the relation between consolidation of banks suppliers of differentiated products and bank risks.

    Giacomo Pasini DEO 2007 Agar Brugiavini University Ca' Foscari of Venice
    Emprirical Studies on Social Interactions

    The topic of this dissertation is the estimation of three economic models that take explicitly into
    account social interactions. The first chapter presents a demand system where individual consumption choices depend on reference group average behavior. Empirical evidence confirms that social interaction effect is large and its magnitude varies with the visibility of each good. In the second chapter I study market insurance demand when individuals can enter non-market agreements. The model implies that moral hazard involved in informal agreements is inversely proportional to social capital. Estimation on Italian data confirms the role of social capital. The last chapter sets up a game theoretical model to study how adult children choose how much time to spend caring for their parents. Results confirm that children behave strategically: the more other children help, the less each child provide care to their parents. Throughout the chapters estimation is carried on with a new procedure based on spatial econometrics tools. Such an approach solves the issues arising from Manski's reflection problem and it is applicable to large population-wide datasets.

    Paola Pellegrini DEC 2007 Favaretto Pellegrini SpA, Italy

    ACO: Parameters, exploration and quality of solutions
    Ant colony optimization (ACO) is a metaheuristic. The idea at the basis of the approach has been proposed in the early 1990's. In the following, it has become an important research area in operations research and artificial intelligence. An increasing number of researchers focus their work on ant colony optimization. Every two years, a dedicated workshop is held in Brussels, Belgium. An international journal entitled Swarm Intelligence includes research on ACO as a main focus. Nowadays, ant colony optimization is commonly considered as a reference metaheuristics. It is used for tackling several optimization problems, and it represents the state of the art for some of them. In the literature, ACO is object of many experimental studies. They are focused in applying this approach to new problems or to case studies. This kind of research is certainly crucial for confirming the validity of ant colony optimization. Nonetheless, the focus on empirical analysis has somehow drove the attention away from the investigation of theoretical properties and methodological aspects concerning the metaheuristic. The first theoretical papers on ACO are published around the year 2000, i.e. around ten years after the first studies on this metaheuristic. Many questions are still open, both on the theory behind ACO, and on the practice of using this approach as other metaheuristics. The contribution given with this thesis consists in answering to some of these open questions. The main area in which the research is developed is the analysis of the role of the parameters that are present in ACO algorithms. In particular, we aim at understanding how they impact on the exploration of the search space, and then on the quality of the solutions found. Intuitive relations can be pointed out among these elements. What is still missing in the literature is a definition of these relations. The works presented in this thesis represent a move in this direction. Chapter 1 concerns a theoretical analysis on the relation between the values of the parameters of one of the main ACO algorithms and the exploration of the search space. We consider MAX-MIN Ant System as representative of ant algorithms. The analysis proposed is problem independent. The main four parameters of the algorithm are considered: the number of ants included in a colony, the pheromone evaporation rate and the exponent values of pheromone and heuristic measure in the state transition rule. For observing how the conclusion drawn display in practice, some experiments on the traveling salesman problem are proposed. Chapter 2 concerns the invariance of ant colony optimization with respect to the cost unit used in the instances to tackle. Recently, the issue of the invariance of ACO algorithms to transformation of units has been explicitly raised in the literature. The performance of ACO algorithms were said to be strongly dependent on the scale of the problem. This would be a significant drawback of the metaheuristic, and would represent a limit for our analysis on the impact of the parameters on the performance achieved. In other words, if ACO were not invariant, any reasoning on the values chosen for the parameters would depend on the fact that costs are expressed in dollars instead of euros, for example. In the Chapter we formally prove that this is not the case: three among the most successful ant colony optimization algorithms are actually invariant, and the reasoning can be easily extended to other ACO algorithms. Chapter 3 aims at underlying the impact of the implementation effort on the performance of metaheuristics. The implementation effort is represented by the method of selection of the values of the parameters: A low effort corresponds to a random choice. A high effort corresponds to the application of a tuning procedure. Metaheuristics are said to be implemented in an out-of-the-box way in the first case, and in a custom way in the second. The custom versions perform significantly better than the out-of-the-box ones on the problem considered as a case study. Different researches may have different goals, that may justify the use of either out-of-the-box or custom versions of metaheuristics. Nonetheless, we should be aware of the fact that the results achieved may not be generalizable. By considering the method of selection of the parameters as the element of diversity, the fact that the two contexts appear clearly different, supports the intuition according to which the values of the parameters strongly impact on the performance achieved.
    In Chapter 4 we propose an empirical analysis that supports the intuition according to which it may be possible to find some functional form that describes the relation between the quality of the solutions found and the values of the parameters of the algorithm.

    Paolo Pin DEC 2007

    Sergio Currarini/ Marco Li Calzi

    European University Institute, Italy

    Four multi-agent economic models: from evolutionary competition to Social interaction - One of three winners of the "1st Salvatore Vinci Award" from the Parthenope University, Naples.
    The present work is divided in four chapters, in the form of self--consistent papers:
    (1) ``Selection matters'', a study based on computer simulations of genetic algorithms for the purpose of shaping optimal risk--attitudes in an environment of lotteries; (2) ``Eight degrees of separation'', a game--theoretical model of network formation with multiplicity of equilibria characterized by the small world property; (3) ``An Economic Model of Friendship: Diversity, Minorities and Integration'' (with my supervisor Sergio Currarini and Matthew O. Jackson, from Stanford University), where we define and characterize steady state equilibria in a matching process of  friends formation between rational agents divided ex ante in different types; (4) ``Long Run Integration in Social Networks'' (with the same coauthors), an asymptotic analysis of some stochastic processes of growing networks, where we define and check properties of integration at the limit.The four works may appear very heterogeneous but they are actually so more in approach that in spirit.
    They share in common the analysis (with different tools and modelling choices) of complex economic situations with many (more or less rational) agents at play. A common goal in all of them is to minimize the number of exogenous variables, trying to endogenize as much as possible the underlying process.

    Silvia Vianello DEA 2007 Francesco Casarin SDA Bocconi, Milan, Italy

    Online Consumer behavior in virtual comunities:
    First paper: we investigate two key group determinants of participation in online communities, venue interactivity and community engagement, and consider their consequences on online and offline consumer behavior. Sets of hypotheses were theorized considering the differences between groups with different levels of interactivity and engagement. Many differences and key interactions emerge. Second study: find the factors that enhance member participation and sharing in business-to-customer virtual communities. We propose a causal model detailing the antecedents of different sharing behaviors. Managerial implications include free-riding-mitigating mechanisms employed in consumer communities to increase sharing behavior. Third paper: we study the differences between firm and customer-managed brand communities. Results are derived using Netnographic, in-depth interviews and internet-based survey. We discuss the theoretical bases, the practical implications, and future research.

    Fabiana Visentin DEO 2007 Massimo Wargilen University of Lugano, Switzerland
    The evolutionary dynamics of organizational populations: Three studies on the corporate demography of the Swiss Banking authority.
    Abstract:This dissertations has examined the evolutionary dynamics of the swiss banking industry through the organizationa ecology's lens. In particulare my research questions are formulated on the main vital events: patterns of foundings, disbandings and growth. Chapter 2 models processes of organizational founding. The main goal is to improve our current understanding of the dynamics relation between density and organizational founding. Chapter 3 conerns organizational mortality/exit rates. I focus my attention on the conditions at founding. I attempt to shed light on how the caracteristics of organizations interact with the characteristics of poulations in shaping the survival dynamics of firms. Chapter 4 addresses issues to organizational growth rates. I compare different models I add empirical evidence in the discussion in a field where results are still divergent.

    Christian Menegatti DEO 2006 Guido Cazzavillan RGE Monitor, New York USA

    Essay on Modelling Inflation Dynamics

    Lea Nicita DEC 2006 Carlo Carraro Fondazione ENI "Enrico Mattei", Milan, Italy

    Manager's Incentives and Technology Adoption

    Francesco Bosello DEC 2005 Carlo Carraro University of Milan, Italy

    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies in Response to Global Climate Change: 3 essays in Environmental Economics
    Abstract: Since the first climatological studies in the early 80s a vast and ever growing scientific literature confirmed both the anthropogenic influence on climate change and the possibility of adverse conditions to prevail with negative repercussions on many determinants of human welfare: health, food and water quality and availability, factor productivity etc. Today climate change consequences have become a hot topic in public opinions’ sensitivity urging both the scientific and the policy communities to provide adequate responses.
    At the beginning of the 90s, both science and policy concentrated on the so-called “mitigation” issue. Given the recognised - even though still not well quantified - anthropogenic influence on climate change, it seemed prudential and reasonable to focus on the reduction of those human activities, like GHG emissions, deforestation and changes in land cover, that, changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere, were harmful for the climate. Since mid 90’s, two facts contributed gradually to shift the attention toward the so-called adaptation policies i.e. policies devoted to alleviate damages if adverse conditions should materialize.
    Firstly, increasing recognition of strong climate inertia highlighted that even in the presence of strong mitigation policies some degree of climate change would have been inevitable at least for the next century. Thus mitigation, although essential to limiting the extent and probability of a potentially harmful climate change, could not respond to the problem of coping with the “residual” or “unavoidable” change.
    Secondly the decided GHG reduction objectives and the associated mitigation policies proved to be much more difficult to be implemented than expected both because of their high cost and of the need of strong international coordination among countries. These two circumstances spurred the research of alternative responses to the challenges posed by climate change, in particular toward those strategies apt to alleviating the damage via proper adaptation of the impacted socio-economic-environmental systems. Within this framework, the present research concentrates on three different aspects pertaining mitigation and adaptation policies and their relationship. Each theme is developed in an autonomous essay; nonetheless the three works are interrelated providing pieces of information that can be used to draw an organic picture.

    Chiara Forlati DEC 2005 Guido Cazzavillan AGAUR, Catalunya, Spain

    Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policies: 3 Essays

    Roberto Casarin DEC 2004 Monica Billio University of Brescia, Italy

    Simulation Methods for Nonlinear and Non-Gaussian Models in Finance. SIE award for the best thesis of 2004
    Abstract: In this thesis I propose some new nonlinear and non-Gaussian  probabilistic models such as such mixtures of alfa-stable distributions, heavy-tails stochastic volatility process and  stochastic local-trend models. I show how Monte Carlo simulation methods can be used in solving the optimisation and integration problems, which arise in applying the proposed models to the quantitative finance context. Finally, I follow a Bayesian inference framework and propose suitable simulation-based inference procedures for these models.

    Francesco Feri DEC 2004 Dino Rizzi Royal Holloway University of London, UK

    Four essays in Economics
    Abstract: The dissertation includes four papers which summarize the research works performed during the Ph.D program. The common idea underlying these papers is an attempt to understand how individuals collect, produce and use information under different institutions and different incentives. Often individuals take decisions on the basis of available information and these decisions can be totally opposed depending on the quality of information as well as on the quantity, kinds and sources. These decisions can be regarding financial or investment acts as well as the use of time off or in which restaurant to lunch. An example of this is presented in chapter 1. Here we illustrate a model where people have to vote a level of income redistribution. We show as the preferred level of redistribution depends on the information care about the future income perspectives. Moreover we show as many people can reverse the vote's decision if the quantity of available
    information changes. In many situations, as that described in chapter 1, individuals could attach a value at the available information. This value could depend, for example, on like new information can affect the probability to take right decision and on the relative cost of a mistake. Therefore rational individuals could use economic resources to collect information with the aim to maximize their future gains. Related on this issue (the collection of information) are chapters 2 and 3 that consider a communication network where individuals pay a cost to form links with other agents and collect a valuable information. We study the network formation under different assumptions. In chapter 2 we study the long run equilibrium in according to link cost in networks characterized by an inperfect information trasmission. In chapter 3 the technology of information trasmission is endogeneously determined in the model. Finally we note that there are situations where people take decisions on the basis of the available information (public and private) and these decisions produce new available information for all individuals that have to act later. In chapter 4 we present the
    experimental results about production and use of information under different incentives and in a setting where each individual obtains a private signal and her action is public.

    Alberto Longo DEC 2004 Carlo Carraro Queen's University, Belfast, UK

    The Role of Contamination; Cleanup and Policy Instuments in the Redevelopment of Brownfields
    Abstract: This dissertation investigates the effect of the presence of contamination on the value of commercial and industrial properties and the effectiveness of policy instruments to stimulate the re-use of “brownfields.” Brownfields are “abandoned, idled, or under-used commercial and industrial properties where real or perceived contamination complicates expansion or redevelopment.” The hedonic pricing model applied to commercial and industrial properties in the State of Maryland and in Baltimore City shows that the value of a site is negatively affected by the presence of contamination at the premises. Cleanup does not increase the value of the site, while participation in Voluntary Cleanup Programs does. Distance from a (potentially) contaminated site, or from a cleaned up site has little effect on the value of surrounding commercial and industrial properties. The creation of Enterprise and Empowerment Zones that give real property tax and employment tax credits to companies that locate in specific areas of Baltimore City has been effective in stimulating development only in certain areas of the city.The conjoint choice analysis (choice experiments) method has been applied to a sample of real estate developers to find out site characteristics and policy instruments that make a site more attractive to developers. Our respondents indicate that (1) proximity of a site to a city and to a good transportation network increase the probability of undertaking a re-use project at a site, (2) the presence of contamination at the site shies away investments, (3) they are indifferent between a pristine site and a cleaned up site, (4) they appreciate (4.1) direct financial incentives, (4.2) flexible cleanup standards, (4.3) a certificate of completed cleanup that relieves the developer from liability for further cleanups, (4.4) short track review for approval of the project by the government agency. To attract developers to undertake projects at contaminated sites, direct financial incentives are more effective in attracting companies that have already undertaken re-use projects at contaminated sites, while a policy that offers a certificate of liability relief, short track review of the project by the government agency and flexible cleanup standards is a more effective instrument in attracting companies with no previous experience at contaminated sites.  The application of the model that employs the method of the conjoint choice analysis to the Porto Marghera brownfield suggests that the most effective policy to attract developers to undertake projects at the contaminated sites of Porto Marghera should offer: (1) shorter track review of the re-use project at the Porto Marghera contaminated sites compared to the review timing to approve or reject projects at pristine sites, (2) a certificate of completed cleanup that relieves the developer from liability for further cleanups, (3) flexible cleanup standards linked to the final land use.   

    Franco Mariuzzo DEC 2004 Agar Brugiavini The Geary Inst. University College Dublin, Ireland

    Modern Empirical Approaches to Characterize and Estimate Equilibrium Outcomes in Differentiated Products Markets
    Abstract: This thesis uses the advancements in the literature of product di¤erentiation developed by Berry (1994) and Berry, Levinsohn and Pakes (1995) in order to analyze, separately, the structures of the Italian automobile and the Irish carbonated soft drink markets. Simulation techniques to aggregate individuals.
    choices have been largely used. The novelty of the results departs from the originality of the information collected. Regarding the Italian automobile market we set up a new dataset merging market level data (which we thank Fiat S.p.A. and Editoriale Domus Quattro-ruote) and microdata (from a special section of the Bank of Italy Survey of Households. Income and Wealth) for the period 1989-2000. We use this new dataset to show that, controlling for the di¤erent characteristics of individuals buying a new vehicle or preferring the outside option (not buying a new vehicle), let us to gain e¢ ciency and estimate more reliable price elasticities of substitution. Our data show that models like BLP, based on exogenous information on a unique population, produce price elasticities of substitution that are, on average, overestimated by a 30%. The same dataset is then used to evaluate the impact, in terms of market competition, of the policy of scrap incentives adopted in Italy since 1997 to 2000. We find that the scrap incentives, once controlled for the other characteristics, induced competition in the market: prices were reduced up to 8% in 1998 and 10% in 2000. The level of competition has not been equally borne by the di¤erent parent houses. Its e¤ect has been stronger on parent houses holding portfolios of small cars. An original dataset has been setup also for the Irish carbonated soft drink market. The dataset consists of bimonthly market level retail scanner data (period June/July 1992 - April/May 1997) with rich information on the distribution of the products (each brand.s shops coverage) collated by Irish AC Nielsen. We interpret shops coverage as a measure of a potential distance a consumer has to undertake to find available a product. We use this information to aggregate over different types of individuals. We produce a positive analysis aimed at: i) showing (contrary to the homogenous good literature) the absence of a positive relation between market size and market power; ii) stressing the relevance of the shops coverage in the process of competition. We then enrich our analysis simulating directly our individuals. We assume one of their attributes to be their reaction to the presence/absence of the products in their closest shops. We find the information on the distribution of the products to be necessary for a proper identification of our model. We use the primitives of our estimates to show the optimality of the long run decision on shops coverage.

    Fulvio Pegoraro DEC 2004 Monica Billio Banque de France, France

    Discrete Time Pricing Models with Latent Variables
    Abstract:The purpose of my PhD Thesis is to propose discrete time pricing models with latent variables (for
    derivatives and non-defaultable bonds) able, at the same time, to take into account the relevant sources of risks indicated by the empirical evidence, and to give pricing relations which are under an explicit form or which are simple to implement. The models have provided, in simulations, results coherent with the empirical evidence, or, in other words, the proposed pricing methodologies seems adequate to explain the relevant sources of risks. With the empirical implementation of these models, purpose of future works, we will obtain a stronger indication about their abilities to explain asset's prices.

    Massimiliano Caporin DEC 2003 Domenico Sartore University of Padua, Italy

    Long Memory Conditional Heteroskedasticity and Second Order Causality
    Abstract of each individual paper comprised in the thesis: Identification of long-memory in GARCH models, Statistical Methods and Applications, 2003, 12, 133-151This work extends the analysis of Baillie, Bollerslev and Mikkelsen (1996) and Bollerslev and Mikkelsen (1996) on the estimation and identification problems of the Fractionally Integrated Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedastik (FIGARCH) model.We assess the power of different information criteria and tests in identifying the presence of long memory in the conditional variances. The analysis is performed with a Montecarlo simulation study. In detail, the focus on the Akaike, Hannan-Quinn, Shibata and Schwarz information criteria and on the Jarque-Bera test for normality, Box-Pierce test for residual correlation and Engle test for ARCH effects. This study verifies that information criteria clearly distinguish the presence of long memory while tests do not evidence any difference between the fitted long and short memory models. An empirical application is provided; it analyses, on a high frequency dataset, the returns of the FIB30, the future on the MIB30, the Italian stock market index of highly capitalized firms.
    Variance (non)causality in multivariate GARCH, Econometric Reviews, 2007, 26(1), 1-24This paper extends the current literature on the variance-causality topic providing the coefficient restrictions ensuring variance noncausality within multivariate GARCH models with in-mean effects. Furthermore, this paper presents a new multivariate model, the exponential causality GARCH. By the introduction of a multiplicative causality impact function, the variance causality effects becomes directly interpretable and can therefore be used to detect both the existence of causality and its direction; notably, the proposed model allows for increasing and decreasing variance effects. An empirical application evidences negative causality effects between returns and volume of an Italian stock market index future contract.
    Evaluating Value-at-Risk measures in presence of long-memory conditional volatility, 2008, Journal of Risk, 10(3)
    We compare the VaR bounds obtained from several models fitted to simulated long memory conditional variance processes. We show that most VaR comparison tests and loss functions may lead to the choice of a misspecified model that produces incorrect risk conditional coverage. The only exception is the test proposed by Christoffersen et al. (2001). However, with an opportunity cost loss function, we show that most models satisfy the Basel accord requirements and that the cost of selecting a misspecified model is limited. Therefore, simple models are harmless approximations for the computation of the VaR, both under the users and regulators points of view.