About me

According to an unconfirmed family legend, during childhood I had the habit of intentionally losing at board games against my grandfather. Having once been asked why, I allegedly replied, “If I keep losing, grandpa will have to stay for longer and teach me more.”

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my grandfather wasn’t actually visiting only to teach me chess or backgammon--  but I like to think that this was the first moment I consciously realized that individuals often pursue objectives that are different from the ones the “formal” game they are playing would suggest. This realization has important consequences for both the well being of players and for the efficiency of the game itself.

Indeed, if my grandfather and I had not clarified the fact that we were playing “different” games, our payoffs would have remained low: I would have kept on being frustrated by his departures, and he would have continued to be saddened by an apparently careless grandson.    

I had to wait few years to learn how Economics can elevate this “games within games” intuition to a scientific level.

As an applied economist, I believe that the goal of my work is to understand the “expressive” nature of decision-making, and to use this knowledge to help shape markets and mechanisms that are able to maximize both monetary and non-monetary gains from trade.

This is why my current research focuses on areas of economic decision-making where factors like altruism, fairness, and image motivation play critical roles for institutions and the functioning of markets: for example,  charitable giving, hierarchical relationships, and voting behavior.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I love cooking (just to keep alive the Italian stereotype), reading, chatting (which is quite the opposite of a frivolous activity), and traveling. My favorite jazz, classical, and baroque composers are, in no particular order: Claudio Monteverdi, Johannes Brahms, Matthew Shipp, Antonio Vivaldi, Gustav Mahler, Art Tatum, and Sonny Rollins.  I am also a fan of a new genre of electronic music called “complextro.” I am a seasonal sports type of person, but I do love walking, both in nature and in cities, all year round.