Current teaching

Lecturer
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Senior Tutor
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Past teaching

Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
2016-2017
Introduction to statistics and Stata
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
2014-2016
Econometrics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Economics Summer School

Office hours:

Advice and feedback hours: Monday 3-4pm; Tuesday 3-4pm

Office: S0.62, Social Science Building, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I am an applied economist, working on topics in the areas of political economy, public economics, economics of migration and applied econometrics. I am currently working as postdoctoral research fellow at the Institut d’Economia de Barcelona (IEB), University of Barcelona.

references

Mirko Draca – University of Warwick

Ben Lockwood – University of Warwick

Jeremy Smith – University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

working paper

Dec 2019

Stop invasion! The electoral tipping point in anti-immigrant voting

with

M. Bordignon, E. Slerca and G. Turati

Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship bet...
More
Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship between the vote shares of anti-immigrant parties and the share of immigrants follows a U-shaped curve, which exhibits a tipping-like behavior around a share of immigrants equal to 3.35 %. We estimate that the vote share of the main Italian anti-immigrant party (Lega Nord) is approximately 6 % points higher for municipalities below the threshold. Using data on local labor market characteristics and on the incomes of natives and immigrants, we provide evidence which points at the competition in the local labor market between natives and immigrants as the more plausible explanation for the electoral success of anti-immigrant parties in areas with low shares of immigrants. Alternative stories find less support in the data.
Close
Nov 2019

Manager or professional politician? Local fiscal autonomy and the skills of elected officials [Revision requested, Regional Science and Urban Economics]

With

M. Bordignon and G. Turati

We provide a theoretical and empirical assessment of why local fiscal autonomy can affect the skills of elected officials in sub-national governments. We first develop a model of politics with different types of politicians and show that -- following...
More
We provide a theoretical and empirical assessment of why local fiscal autonomy can affect the skills of elected officials in sub-national governments. We first develop a model of politics with different types of politicians and show that -- following a tax decentralization reform increasing local fiscal autonomy -- politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich jurisdictions while politicians with high political skills are elected in poor ones. As a result, voter welfare increases only, or mainly, in rich jurisdictions. We then look for empirical support to these predictions by exploiting the decentralization reforms affecting Italian municipalities in the '90s. These reforms introduced both the direct election of the mayor and new autonomous tax tools for municipalities characterized by large differences in their tax bases. Our estimates -- robust to several alternative stories -- emphasize a differential change in elected officials at the municipal level between rich and poor jurisdictions. These findings provide a new explanation for the observed poor performance of local governments largely financed by grants.
Close
Sep 2019

Do national political parties matter? Evidence from Italian municipalities [Revision requested, European Journal of Political Economy]

Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. “Civic Lists” in Italy). I exploit the success of “Civic Lists” in Italian municipalitie...
More
Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. “Civic Lists” in Italy). I exploit the success of “Civic Lists” in Italian municipalities and use them as a comparison group for party-affiliated politicians, to test whether national parties affect fiscal discipline. In particular, using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), I show that party-affiliated mayors are more fiscally responsible: they run lower deficits, accumulate less debt and reduce expenditures. The effect is significant only for municipalities not constrained by fiscal rules. This suggests that national parties act as a substitute for fiscal rules in constraining politicians. Besides that, I provide evidence that the discipline of party-affiliated politicians is linked to better career prospects: party-affiliated mayors have a higher probability of being re-elected and better chances of being promoted to higher levels of government. Finally, the results are not driven by political orientation, alignment with the central government, the presence of criminal organizations nor by unobserved political ability.
Close
Aug 2019

Fiscal rules and the selection of politicians: evidence from Italian municipalities [new version coming soon]

AWARD

Winner of the EEA Young Economist Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the European Economic Association – Motivation letter here

Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian governme...
More
Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian government applied fiscal rules to all municipalities. In 2001, it removed them for municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants. Using a Difference-in-Discontinuity design, which enables control for an institutionally mandated increase in the wage paid to politicians at the 5000 threshold, I show that fiscal rules negatively affect the level of education of politicians. The result highlights a trade-off to fiscal rules. Reducing policymaking discretion may alleviate inter-jurisdictional externalities, but it may also lower the quality of the political class.
Close
Apr 2019

Not welcome anymore: the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees [new version coming soon]

media coverage
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policies? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy, combined with the exogenous timing of...
More
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policies? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy, combined with the exogenous timing of policy decisions and staggered elections, enables me to study the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. Although municipalities receive fiscal grants for hosting refugees, I find that the probability of opening a reception centre is 24 per cent lower for municipalities in the final year of the electoral term (i.e. just before new elections), compared to municipalities in other years of the term. The results suggest that electoral incentives may induce politicians to make decisions that are potentially detrimental from an economic perspective.
Close
Nov 2018

Finding the Warmth of other Suns? Refugee Reception, Extreme Votes and Hate Crimes [preliminary and incomplete]

with

M. Luca and M. Viskanic

Does refugee reception lead to more hate crimes against foreigners? What is the impact of refugee reception on extreme-right voting and which role does the media play in the transmission? Using data on Italian SPRAR refugee centres we show that the r...
More
Does refugee reception lead to more hate crimes against foreigners? What is the impact of refugee reception on extreme-right voting and which role does the media play in the transmission? Using data on Italian SPRAR refugee centres we show that the reception of refugees across Italian municipalities leads to a decrease in extreme-right voting and hate crimes against foreigners. We analyze which role media coverage can play in the transmission. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that the for the average assignment of 15 refugees per municipality the growth in vote shares for the extreme-right parties is decreased by 12.5 percentage points, which amounts to 2.25 percentage points looking at differences in vote shares. We also find that the hosting of 50 refugees leads to a reduction of about one hate crime over the period between 2013 and 2017. The effect on extreme voting is mainly driven by municipalities where local newspapers are less biased against migrants, where sport newspapers distribution is lower and where the local population has lower misperceptions of the presence of migrants.
Close
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Current teaching

Lecturer
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Senior Tutor
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Past teaching

Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Teaching Assistant
University of Warwick, Department of Economics
2016-2017
Introduction to statistics and Stata
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Business School
2014-2016
Econometrics
Teaching Assistant
Warwick Economics Summer School

Office hours:

Advice and feedback hours: Monday 3-4pm; Tuesday 3-4pm

Office: S0.62, Social Science Building, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I am an applied economist, working on topics in the areas of political economy, public economics, economics of migration and applied econometrics. I am currently working as postdoctoral research fellow at the Institut d’Economia de Barcelona (IEB), University of Barcelona.

references

Mirko Draca – University of Warwick

Ben Lockwood – University of Warwick

Jeremy Smith – University of Warwick

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

working paper

Dec 2019

Stop invasion! The electoral tipping point in anti-immigrant voting

with

M. Bordignon, E. Slerca and G. Turati

Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship bet...
More
Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship between the vote shares of anti-immigrant parties and the share of immigrants follows a U-shaped curve, which exhibits a tipping-like behavior around a share of immigrants equal to 3.35 %. We estimate that the vote share of the main Italian anti-immigrant party (Lega Nord) is approximately 6 % points higher for municipalities below the threshold. Using data on local labor market characteristics and on the incomes of natives and immigrants, we provide evidence which points at the competition in the local labor market between natives and immigrants as the more plausible explanation for the electoral success of anti-immigrant parties in areas with low shares of immigrants. Alternative stories find less support in the data.
Close
Nov 2019

Manager or professional politician? Local fiscal autonomy and the skills of elected officials [Revision requested, Regional Science and Urban Economics]

With

M. Bordignon and G. Turati

We provide a theoretical and empirical assessment of why local fiscal autonomy can affect the skills of elected officials in sub-national governments. We first develop a model of politics with different types of politicians and show that -- following...
More
We provide a theoretical and empirical assessment of why local fiscal autonomy can affect the skills of elected officials in sub-national governments. We first develop a model of politics with different types of politicians and show that -- following a tax decentralization reform increasing local fiscal autonomy -- politicians with high administrative skills are elected in rich jurisdictions while politicians with high political skills are elected in poor ones. As a result, voter welfare increases only, or mainly, in rich jurisdictions. We then look for empirical support to these predictions by exploiting the decentralization reforms affecting Italian municipalities in the '90s. These reforms introduced both the direct election of the mayor and new autonomous tax tools for municipalities characterized by large differences in their tax bases. Our estimates -- robust to several alternative stories -- emphasize a differential change in elected officials at the municipal level between rich and poor jurisdictions. These findings provide a new explanation for the observed poor performance of local governments largely financed by grants.
Close
Sep 2019

Do national political parties matter? Evidence from Italian municipalities [Revision requested, European Journal of Political Economy]

Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. “Civic Lists” in Italy). I exploit the success of “Civic Lists” in Italian municipalitie...
More
Recently several countries have experienced a drop in popularity of national political parties, accompanied by the success of independent movements (e.g. “Civic Lists” in Italy). I exploit the success of “Civic Lists” in Italian municipalities and use them as a comparison group for party-affiliated politicians, to test whether national parties affect fiscal discipline. In particular, using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), I show that party-affiliated mayors are more fiscally responsible: they run lower deficits, accumulate less debt and reduce expenditures. The effect is significant only for municipalities not constrained by fiscal rules. This suggests that national parties act as a substitute for fiscal rules in constraining politicians. Besides that, I provide evidence that the discipline of party-affiliated politicians is linked to better career prospects: party-affiliated mayors have a higher probability of being re-elected and better chances of being promoted to higher levels of government. Finally, the results are not driven by political orientation, alignment with the central government, the presence of criminal organizations nor by unobserved political ability.
Close
Aug 2019

Fiscal rules and the selection of politicians: evidence from Italian municipalities [new version coming soon]

AWARD

Winner of the EEA Young Economist Award at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the European Economic Association – Motivation letter here

Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian governme...
More
Despite the wide adoption, there is little evidence on the consequences of fiscal rules for the quality of government. I use data from Italian municipalities to study how fiscal rules affect the selection of politicians. In 1999, the Italian government applied fiscal rules to all municipalities. In 2001, it removed them for municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants. Using a Difference-in-Discontinuity design, which enables control for an institutionally mandated increase in the wage paid to politicians at the 5000 threshold, I show that fiscal rules negatively affect the level of education of politicians. The result highlights a trade-off to fiscal rules. Reducing policymaking discretion may alleviate inter-jurisdictional externalities, but it may also lower the quality of the political class.
Close
Apr 2019

Not welcome anymore: the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees [new version coming soon]

media coverage
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policies? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy, combined with the exogenous timing of...
More
Do electoral incentives affect immigration policies? I study this question in the setting of Italian municipalities making decisions about the reception of refugees. The localized control of the reception policy, combined with the exogenous timing of policy decisions and staggered elections, enables me to study the effect of electoral incentives on the reception of refugees. Although municipalities receive fiscal grants for hosting refugees, I find that the probability of opening a reception centre is 24 per cent lower for municipalities in the final year of the electoral term (i.e. just before new elections), compared to municipalities in other years of the term. The results suggest that electoral incentives may induce politicians to make decisions that are potentially detrimental from an economic perspective.
Close
Nov 2018

Finding the Warmth of other Suns? Refugee Reception, Extreme Votes and Hate Crimes [preliminary and incomplete]

with

M. Luca and M. Viskanic

Does refugee reception lead to more hate crimes against foreigners? What is the impact of refugee reception on extreme-right voting and which role does the media play in the transmission? Using data on Italian SPRAR refugee centres we show that the r...
More
Does refugee reception lead to more hate crimes against foreigners? What is the impact of refugee reception on extreme-right voting and which role does the media play in the transmission? Using data on Italian SPRAR refugee centres we show that the reception of refugees across Italian municipalities leads to a decrease in extreme-right voting and hate crimes against foreigners. We analyze which role media coverage can play in the transmission. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that the for the average assignment of 15 refugees per municipality the growth in vote shares for the extreme-right parties is decreased by 12.5 percentage points, which amounts to 2.25 percentage points looking at differences in vote shares. We also find that the hosting of 50 refugees leads to a reduction of about one hate crime over the period between 2013 and 2017. The effect on extreme voting is mainly driven by municipalities where local newspapers are less biased against migrants, where sport newspapers distribution is lower and where the local population has lower misperceptions of the presence of migrants.
Close