Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Network di Ricerca

"Age-It a new partnership for welfare sustainability and the well-being of an ageing society" - Claudio Lucifora (Principal Investigator), con L. Cappellari, E. Cottini, e DEF Team - M4C2 PNRR - Partenariato esteso PE8 “Sfide dell’invecchiamento”: Progetto Age-It

Age-It is a research programme that aims at generating a quantum leap, making Italy the leading scientific hub in research on ageing, and a state-of-the-art “empirical laboratory” regarding the ageing process. Age-It will set the gold standard in terms of socioeconomic, biomedical, policy, and technological solutions for an inclusive ageing society. Italy will become a benchmark for other, also non-European, rapidly ageing societies. Università Cattolica participate to this partnership with 21 academics who are internationally renowned in their field, along with other 24 major research institutions in Italy. UCSC is leading research in various Spoke, such as biomedical research on ageing, trajectories for an healthy and active ageing, new development in the Silver economy and gerotechnology.

"Evidence-based anti-poverty policies" - Progetto D.3.2. 2018 coordinato dal Prof. Lorenzo Cappellari

The generalized increase in poverty is one of the deepest wounds that the Great Recession has left us. The eradication of poverty from our societies is today a priority political objective for the next decade, established both in the European Union strategy for sustainable and inclusive growth (H2020) and in the global targets of the United Nations, and repeatedly recalled by Pope Francis . In Italy, according to the most recent statistics released by ISTAT, more than 5 million people (6.7% of families) live in a situation of absolute poverty, i.e. with insufficient income levels to guarantee survival, while looking at the phenomenon in relative terms (in relation to the national average or median) the poverty rate doubles. In international comparison, Italy ranks among the countries with an average incidence of the phenomenon (relative poverty between 10 and 15%), higher than in most European countries, but lower than in the United States.

Poverty and inequality are among the most hateful of the diseases that afflict the economic system, since they imply that a portion of the population is excluded from the benefits of economic growth. The issue of poverty is usually treated from an equity point of view, having in mind some form of social well-being that is negatively dependent on income inequality. Fighting poverty, however, is not only a question of distributive equity, but also, and sometimes above all, a way to favor the efficient functioning of the socio-economic system. Being poor is almost never a choice, but rather the result of inefficiencies in the functioning of market mechanisms, think primarily of unemployment. Furthermore, being poor is often a symptom of lack of equal opportunities in access to public goods, as in the case of the educational deficit for the children of disadvantaged families. Removing these blockages and inefficiencies would not only make society more equitable, but would provide the incentive for all to engage in work and school regardless of social origins, enhancing the resources present in society and ultimately increasing the ability to produce well-being.

Against the background of these scenarios, the project "Evidence-based anti-poverty policies" aims to address the multiple dimensions of poverty in an analytical key with the aim of providing useful guidelines for the formulation of anti-poverty policies.

EPOC - ECONOMIC POLICY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS - Coordinato dal Prof. Domenico Delli Gatti
Website: https://epoc-itn.eu/en/about/european-joint-doctorate 

EPOC is a European Research & Doctoral Training Programme which is granted by the European Commission through the research funding programme, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) in Horizon 2020. MSCA aim to support successful careers in all sectors by funding research and training of young fellows – with a focus on innovation skills – in all scientific disciplines through international and intersectoral mobility. 
EPOC’s doctoral fellows are jointly supervised by researchers from two universities, which are both members of the EPOC consortium. They all will have extended research and training stays at both of these universities and will receive a double degree upon graduation.  A joint governance structure with joint admission, selection, supervision, monitoring and assessment procedures of all EPOC universities forms the basis of the three year doctoral training. These measures contribute to overcoming national, sectoral and inter-disciplinary boundaries. 

Academic Partners:

· University of Bielefeld

· University of Amsterdam (UvA)

· Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB)

· University of Copenhagen (Københavns Universitet)

· Università Cattolica (UCSC)

· Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Many of the main challenges Europe currently faces, like mitigating climate change, fostering a transition to a low-carbon economy, or governing the development, diffusion of new technologies are difficult to deal with because of their dynamic complex nature. The Innovative Training Network EPOC aims at advancing the state-of-the-art and the applicability of computationally intensive methods for decision and policy analysis in such complex and uncertain environments. Particular focus will be on the application of such methods in the domains of climate change and innovation.                    

“La pandemia come rischio globale: quali strategie contro Covid-19?” - Progetto D.3.2. 2020 coordinato dal Prof. Domenico Delli Gatti

The research project “of particular interest to the University” (research line D3.2) entitled “The pandemic as a global risk. Which strategies against Covid19?” aims to explore in depth the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, and to propose economic policies to address them. From a macroeconomic point of view, the pandemic is first and foremost a shock to the supply of labor (exacerbated by the measure of pandemic containment such as the lockdown), employment and the supply of goods and services. It is then a shock to households’ demand for consumption goods and to firms’ demand for capital goods. The combination of these two shocks generates a recession of unusual dimensions. Finally, the pandemic is a shock to the system of international trade relations, since transactions across borders are interrupted and international production networks disrupted. (Short-term) policies are therefore needed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on households, businesses and financial intermediaries. Once the emergency phase is over, active employment policies are necessary for the medium term. Finally, global governance and the reorganization of supply chains must be rethought. The spectrum of problems is therefore very broad. The research group is therefore not composed only of economists (mainly from the Department of Economics and Finance) but also of colleagues from other disciplines (historians, jurists, sociologists, epidemiologists, etc.) and is configured as a Covid task force of Catholic University, capable of influencing the public debate on these issues. The group also includes colleagues from other universities, who have developed profitable working relationships over time with researchers from Catholic University.

Harmful Traditions, Women Empowerment and Development” - Progetto ERC coordinato dalla Prof.ssa Lucia Corno

Harmful traditions (e.g. child marriage, female genital cutting (FGC), breast ironing) affect millions of girls in developing countries. These customs have a strong detrimental effect on women’s human capital accumulation, empowerment and wellbeing, thus perpetuating gender imbalance and the vicious circle of poverty. Yet we know remarkably little on why these norms persist and what policies are able to eradicate them. Professor Corno’s project will address the following research questions: How have harmful traditions originated in the first place? Can we design policy interventions able to change them in a way that is conducive to development? To answer to the first question, she will start by investigating the historical roots of female genital cutting since slavery. Combining contemporary survey data with historical data on slave shipments by ethnic group and across slave routes, she I will test whether current variation in FGC prevalence within Africa can be traced back to the Red Sea slave trades, where women were sold as concubines and infibulation was used to ensure chastity. Professor Corno will then examine whether contemporaneous factors, and in particular current political institutions, play a role in perpetuating harmful traditions, manipulating the timing of FGC to influence electoral outcomes. Finally, using climate data, she will provide new insights on the relationship between global warming and child marriages. To answer to the second question, she designed three randomized control trials in Africa to address specific determinants of the persistence of harmful traditions: alternative harmless rituals to remove cultural barriers, information provision to reduce breast ironing, peers’ interactions to decrease FGC and child marriage.

Effetti Socio-Economici delle Migrazioni. Analisi Controfattuale e Politiche per l’Integrazione (ESEM)” - Progetto D.3.2. 2016 coordinato dal Prof. Massimo Bordignon
ESEM: “The socio-economic effects of migration. Counterfactual analysis and policies for integration”.

Migration is one of the major challenges currently faced by European democracies. The future of the European Union depends also on the ability to respond to the migration problem, combining the goal of welcoming and integrating migrants with the need for cost-effective interventions. This project studies the impact of migration in a variety of social and economic dimensions using rigorous counterfactual analysis techniques. The emphasis on the counterfactual approach derives from the belief that it is necessary to establish causal links between the variables that are of interest to policy makers and individual behaviors. ESEM researchers will use the most recent methodological literature on empirical analysis of social phenomena. Distinctive and recurring features of this literature are the use of controlled randomized trials, the use of administrative data that allows the observation of whole populations or sub-populations, the exploitation of the longitudinal dimension of data in order to better control the individual characteristics.

Expectations and Social Influence Dynamics in Economics” (ExSIDE). 2017-2021 Horizon 2020 Programme financed by the European Commission, Marie Skodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network coordinato dal Prof. Domenico Delli Gatti
Website: http://exside-itn.eu/

Expectations play a crucial role in determining the behaviour of many economic decision makers. The recent financial and economic crisis has highlighted the importance of expectation dynamics for economic development, the success of firm strategies and public policies. The Innovative Training Network ExSIDE aims at improving our understanding of the role of expectation formation and social influence for economic dynamics and for the optimal design of economic policy. This agenda will be pursued by combining an interdisciplinary research agenda with an innovative European joint doctoral training programme, which provides Early Stage Researchers with a broad range of expertise and skills needed for a thorough analysis of expectation formation processes and their role in Economics. Both the research projects and the training activities will combine work in Behavioural Economics, Psychoanalysis, Opinion Formation, Network Theory, Agent-based Simulation and Economic Modelling in different areas. The academic training will be complemented by extensive Transferable Skills Training Measures, Inter-Sectoral Training Measures, provided by non-academic partners, and Career Development Training. Interaction with stakeholders, policy makers and the general public will play an important role in pursuing the ExSIDE agenda and disseminating the results. The ExSIDE consortium consists of eight leading European universities and nine non-academic partners. Each Early Stage Researcher will be hosted by two universities, has a secondment with a non-academic partner and will graduate with a joint or double degree. The research and training in ExSIDE will ensure world-wide employability of the ExSIDE graduates inside and outside academia and will also boost the ability of European institutions and companies to develop efficient policies and strategies. ExSIDE will reinforce the establishment and long term sustainability of structured European joint doctoral programmes in Economics.

Cognitive biases, perceived wealth and macroeconomic instability”. AXA Research Fund Post-doc scholarship. Coordinato dal Dott. Alberto Cardaci

Goal: Analyze the link between cognitive biases on wealth perceptions and household debt accumulation.
The research project combines a series of empirical experiments and a theoretical macroeconomic agent-based model. Based on recent findings from behavioral economics and social cognitive psychology, the research introduces the construct of perceived wealth, which identifies a biased perception of individual net worth, whose value deviates from the actual value of wealth. By means of laboratory experiments, the research investigates how perceived wealth leads individuals to make non-optimal consumption and borrowing decisions that result in large household debt accumulation. Eventually, the aim is to build a macro ABM in order to evaluate the macroeconomic implications of such individual behaviour.
Duration: the project will start in September 2017 and it has a duration of 2 years.

Oppressive gender norms: Female genital cutting (FGC) and female empowerment” coordinato dalla Prof.ssa Lucia Corno (con Eliana La Ferrara e Alessandra Voena)

Harmful social norms are an impediment to economic development and economic growth. This project focuses on one such norm, female genital cutting (FGC), which has been associated with a broad range of poor socio-economic outcomes for women. In sub-Saharan Africa, FGC is correlated not only with severe psychological and health costs, but with lower human capital accumulation. The current proposal aims at answering the following research questions: Why does FGC persist with different intensity across countries? Can current differences in FGC prevalence be traced back to the origins of the slave trade? Our hypothesis, substantiated by historical sources, is that FGC was connected to the Arab route of the slave trade, where women were sold as concubines and infibulation was used to ensure chastity. We next conjecture that the differential exposure of ethnic groups to the Arab route determined differential adoption of the practice, which later evolved into a marker for ethnic identity. We will combine individual level data from all DHS surveys in Africa with historical data on slavery by ethnic group and by trade route to estimate the effect of exposure to the Arab slave route on contemporary FGC prevalence, using various counterfactuals. Understanding the origins and the persistence of FGC is the first necessary step to take before designing policies capable to eradicate this practice.

Changing Social Norms in Developing Countries”. Ministero dell’ Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, Italia, Bando FARE Ricerca in Italia. Coordinato dalla Prof.ssa Lucia Corno (con Eliana La Ferrara e Selim Gulesci)

Social norms are a crucial part of life in developing countries. They serve a fundamental economic role in compensating for market failures, but they can also be a serious impediment to economic progress. Effective development policy cannot abstract from the constraints posed by “bad social norms”. This project focuses on an extremely harmful norm, female genital cutting (FGC), and aims at answering at the following questions: Why does FGC persist? Can we design effective policy interventions to reduce its incidence?
FGC is the practice of removing part of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is present in 29 African and Middle Eastern countries. There is consensus that FGC is a harmful practice, a violation of women’s physical integrity with dramatic consequences for their health and general wellbeing. Despite this, policies capable of eradicating it are extremely hard to identify, and almost no rigorous evidence exists on their effectiveness.
This project will design and evaluate interventions aimed at (i) changing perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards FGC; and (ii) reducing the incidence of this practice.

Progetto Crisi dell'eurocentrismo e futuro dell'umanesimo europeo: prospettive storico-culturali, religiose, giuridiche ed economico-sociali” del Dipartimento di Scienze Religiose coordinato dal Prof. Gian Luca Potestà.
Website: http://progetti.unicatt.it/progetti-ateneo-eurocentrismo-home

HALM - Healthy Ageing and the Labour Market: http://progetti.unicatt.it/progetti-ateneo-halm-home