Place of Origin
M.S, Economics, 2011, Bocconi University, Italy, (summa cum laude)
B.A., Economics, 2008, Bocconi University, Italy, (summa cum laude)
Entered program in 2011
Expected graduation June 2017
Fields of interest
Applied Microeconomics, Political Economy, Development Economics
Chasing the Key Player: a Network Approach to Myanmar Civil War (Job Market Paper)
Abstract: This work studies the determinants of conflict during the last twenty-seven years in Myanmar. Namely, I investigate the Myanmar army's choice to attack the armed groups within the country's frontier over time. The model predicts which rebel group the Myanmar's army wishes to attack in order to reduce the potential fighting ability of all armed groups in the country. The key insight of the model is that armed groups' fighting ability is a function of their allies and enemies, hence, rebel groups that are more central in the network of the country's armed groups are more likely to be targeted. I collect data on armed groups' location, alliances and enmities in order to parametrize the model and derive predictions for the period 1989-2015. Therefore, I test them using geo-referenced dyadic information on violence outbreaks over time. Since lagged (and expected) conflict might affect a group's alliances and enmities, I employ an instrumental variable strategy in order to predict the network structure over time. Results show that a one standard deviation increase in a group's centrality increases the probability of conflict with the Myanmar's army by 0.33% percentage points (over a baseline monthly probability of conflict of 1%). This result is robust to the inclusion of rainfall and commodities' shocks thus identifying a new channel through which conflict occurs. Taking into account rebel groups' alliances and enmities sheds light on why some of them survive over time and why the Myanmar army is unable to commit to maintaining long-lasting peace agreements with others.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Transmission of Fertility Preferences
Abstract: I study the cultural transmission of fertility preferencesamong second generation immigrant women observed in U.S. Censuses from 1910 to 1970. As hypothesized by Bisin Verdier (2001), the transmission of preferences can be "vertical" or "horizontal". Using a unique source documenting the variation in fertility behavior in Europe before and after the first demographic transition (1830-1970), I unpack the influence of parents (measured by source-country fertility at the time of departure from Europe) versus the influence of peers (measured by fertility of the same-age cohorts living in the source country and transmitted by same-age recent immigrants). I find that the transmission mechanism is crucially affected by the number of foreign born immigrant peers living in the same MSA. On one hand, the "vertical" channel of transmission is stronger in places where there are few newly arrived foreign born immigrant couples from the same source countries. On the other hand, fertility choices of second generation women are strongly correlated with marital fertility choices measured over peer cohorts in the sources countries whenever they live in MSAs densely populated by recently arrived immigrants.
Research in Progress
Pecunia Non Olet. Loan Outcomes and Firm Identity: Evidence from a Field Experiment, with Stefano Fiorin.
Impact of a Smartphone Application on Health Literacy, with Russell Toth.
Peaceful and Violent Power Consolidation: Evidence from Myanmar.
Abstract: This paper studies the process of state formation in Myanmar. Using a newly collected dataset of conflict events and ceasefire deals between the Myanmar Army and various armed groups in the country, I study how rebels' characteristics affect the Myanmar army's choice of weakening them peacefully or through military conflict from 1988 onward. In line with the theoretical predictions of Powell (2012, 2013), I find empirical evidence that heterogeneity in armed groups' resources and military ability affect the Myanmar Army's consolidation decisions. Namely, groups whose ethnic homeland lack resources and / or are unable to resist sustained offensives because of their limited military capacity are more likely to be peacefully absorbed by the Myanmar army. Moreover, consolidation policies take time: only three armed groups out of the forty-five active in 1988 can be said to be fully disarmed by 2015 while almost twenty of them keep playing a role as militias linked to the Myanmar army.
You can find my updated CV here.