PhD – Topics

DiSES PhD in Economics
Structural change, diversification and modern economic growth
Language: English Frequence: May-June Hours: 3
Professor: Massimo Tamberi eMail:
Understanding of the general context about structural change; detailed knowledge about recent literature on productive diversification


  • General consideration on structural change- structural change as a multifaceted phenomenon: a rapid glance to different literature fields related to subject
  • Recent literature on product/export diversification and productivity diversification
Reading List:
Kuznets S. (1973). Modern Economic Growth: Findings and Reflections, American Economic Review, 63(3), 247-258.
Matsuyama K. (2008). Structural Change, in Blume L. and Durlauf S. (eds), New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 39(3), 335-351
Cadot O., Carrere C., Strauss-Kahn V. (2011). Export Diversification: What’s Behind the Hump?, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(2), 590-605.
Wavelet methods for economics and finance
Language: English Frequence: May-June Hours: 3
Professor: Marco Gallegati eMail:
Introduce PhD students to the continuous and discrete wavelet transforms for exploratory and time scale regression analysis in economics and finance.


  • Continuous wavelet transform: wavelet power spectrum, coherence and phase.
  • Discrete wavelet transform: wavelet multi-resolution decomposition analysis.
  • Time scale regression decomposition analysis.
Reading List:
Gencay R., Selcuk F., Whitcher, B. (2001). An Introduction to Wavelets and Other Filtering Methods in Finance and Economics, San Diego Academic Press, San Diego.
Percival, D.B. and Walden, A.T. (2000). Wavelet Methods for Time Series Analysis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Ramsey, J.B. (2002). Wavelets in economics and finance: Past and future, Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, vol.6(3), 1-29.
Ramsey, J. B., (2010). Wavelets. In Durlauf, Steven and Lawrence Blume (Eds.), The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan.
Italian local fiscal system
Language: English Frequence: May Hours: 3
Professor: Fabio Fiorillo eMail:
The aim of this course is to provide a short introduction to intergovernmental transfer theory, to illustrate the Italian “Fondo di Solidarietà Comunale and the bottleneck of Italian Local Fiscality.


  • Introduction to intergovernmental transfer theory
  • The transfers for Italian Municipality
  • The local fiscality in Italy, a possible design
Reading List:
Fabio Fiorillo. Vertical Imbalance and Fiscal Federalism in Italy: A possible design for local taxes. Economia Pubblica, forthcoming
Various Handouts
Introduction to programme evaluation methods
Language: English Frequence: May-June Hours: 18
Professor: Leandro Elia eMail:
How do you know whether a policy has been effective? Is there a way to determine the extent to which changes in outcomes can be attributed to a program or policy intervention? The goal of this course is to introduce students to the econometric and statistical tools used to estimate the causal impact of given policies or reforms to inform policymaking. Topics include randomized control trial, natural experiments and instrumental variables, matching methods, difference-in-differences, and regression discontinuity. Theoretical aspects as well as empirical applications will be discussed. Moreover, the course provides with hands-on sessions, where students will learn how to implement each method using modern econometric software.


  • Introduction to the “evaluation problem”. Randomized Control Trial, Regression formulation + examples
  • Natural experiment and instrumental variables + examples
  • Propensity score matching + examples
  • Difference-in-differences + examples
  • Regression Discontinuity Design + examples
  • Hands-on sessions
Reading List:
  • Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J. (2009). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist’s companion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Wooldridge J.M. (2010), Econometric Analysis of Cross Sections and Panel Data, MIT Press.

Other material, including journal articles and codes will be distributed throughout the course.

Economics of Innovation
Language: English Frequence: May-June Hours: 6
Professor: Nicola Matteucci (& others) eMail:
The aim of this course is to provide a brief overview of the large field of the Economics of Innovation, including both theoretical models and empirical applications. It presents the main theories on the diffusion of innovations; the characters of digital (ICT) and other GPT (general purpose) technologies, and their ubiquitous penetration (for eg: e-Health, e-Government, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things); finally, their ultimate socio-economic impact and regulation. The main implications for technological (innovation) and industrial policies are also illustrated, both for developed and developing countries.

  • Theories on the diffusion of innovations
  • ICT and other GPT technologies (including e-Health)
  • Diffusion, usage and socio-economic impact of ICT
  • Innovation and industrial policies
Reading List:
Collection of scientific papers
Empirics of International Trade
Language: English Frequence: May Hours: 3
Professor: Alessia Lo Turco eMail:
The aim of this course is to provide a short introduction to some relevant empirical aspects and tools of the analysis of international trade.

  • The theory and empirics of the gravity model
  • Some applications
Reading List:
Feenstra, Robert C. (2004) Advanced international trade: Theory and evidence. Princeton University, Princeton, ch. 5
Further material provided by the instructor
The theories on public spending growth
Language: English Frequence: May/June Hours: 2
Professor: Agnese Sacchi eMail:
The aim of this topic is to provide some basic theories on public spending growth within the more general framework of fiscal policy.

  • The Wagner Law; the Peacock-Wiseman hypothesis
  • The demand of public spending: the excess bias; the Meltzer and Richard model
Reading List:
Meltzer, A. H., Richard, S. F. (1981). A Rational Theory of the Size of Government. Journal of Political Economy, vol. 89, pp. 914-927.
Musgrave, R. A., (1985). Excess bias and the nature of budget growth. Journal of Public Economics, vol. 28, 287-308.
Peacock, A. T., & Wiseman, J. (1979). Approaches to the analysis of government expenditure growth. Public Finance Quarterly, 7(1), 3-23.
Wagner, R. E., & Weber, W. E. (1977). Wagner’s law, fiscal institutions, and the growth of government. National Tax Journal, 59-68.
Panel data methods
Language: English/Italian Frequence: April-May Hours: 16
Professor: Roberto Esposti eMail:
  • Introduction to panel data: sample properties.
  • The specification issue: to pool or not pool? Fixed or random effects?.
  • The estimation issue: FE estimator.
  • The estimation issue: RE estimator.
  • Dynamic panel models: specification and estimation issues.
  • Dynamic panel models: GMM estimation.
Reading List:
Baltagi, B.H., Econometric Analysis of Panel Data, John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
Hsiao, C., Analysis of Panel Data, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Arellano, M., Panel Data Econometrics, Oxford University Press, 2003.
Manera, M. and Galeotti, M., Microeconometria. Metodi ed applicazioni, Carocci Editore, 2005.
Greene, Econometric Analysis, 7th Edition, Pearson Education Limited, 2012. Chapter 11.
Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., Introductory Econometrics. A modern approach, 4th Edition, South-Western Cengage Learning, 2009 Chapters 13 and 14.
Dynamical Systems Theory and its applications to Economics and Finance
Language: English Frequence: September Hours: 3
Professor:Fabio Tramontana eMail:


This course provides an introduction to the mathematical theory of dynamical system with a particular focus on its applications to economic and financial modelling. Topics include:

  • General Definitions;
  • Linear dynamical systems in discrete time in 1D (equilibrium and global stability);
  • nonlinear dynamical systems in discrete time in 1D (local stability and local bifurcations);
  • deterministic chaos and endogeneous fluctuations;
  • applications to Economics (Cobweb model) and finance (Heterogeneous Agents Models).
Reading List:
Lecture notes and presentation slides.