Shadowless theocracies     

 [Draft] [Supplementary materials and historical appendix]  Submitted

Abstract: I investigate the long-term effects of theocracy on pro-religious political preferences and religiosity. For this purpose, I exploit a quasi-experiment in Italy, where a large river constituted an exogenous border between the theocratic Papal States and a secular state for three centuries. To identify and disentangle the effect of theocracy from other confounders changing at the river, I propose a novel extension to geographic regression discontinuity designs, the Difference-in-Geographic Discontinuities (DIG). While religiosity and political preferences differ sharply across the two riversides at the descriptive level, I find that this is not caused by theocracy. Using several existing and novel historical datasets, I show suggestive evidence that inheritance norms that predate theocratic institutions might drive the observed differences. In line with sociological theories, these norms possibly shifted political preferences towards socialism and communism through increased collectivism and social capital, thereby neutralizing the impact of theocratic institutions.

Targeting vaccine information framing to recipients' education: a randomized trial

with Lisen A. Dahlström. Winner of the Merck Investigator Studies Program grant  [DraftUnder review

Abstract: We investigate tailoring information framing to recipients’ backgrounds to boost vaccination uptakes. 7616 Swedish mothers stratified by education and immigration background received a leaflet on their children's upcoming HPV vaccination opportunity. The leaflet’s framing was randomized between emotional and scientific, with control units receiving an uninformative announcement. Mothers with compulsory schooling exposed to scientific framing increased their uptake by 5.7 percentage points (7.25%). The effect was driven by attentive readers with little previous HPV knowledge. Emotional framing decreased uptake by 4.8 percentage points (5.41%) among high school-educated mothers who read superficially and were more hesitant at baseline.

Work in progress

Networks, Diversity, and Migrants' Success: Evidence from the Pontine Marshes, 1932-1941 

with Frédéric Docquier, Fabio Mariani and Martin Fernandez Sanchez

Abstract: This paper examines the role of social networks and diversity on migrants' economic performance in an agricultural setting. We rely on a historical episode (i.e., the resettlement of the Pontine Marshes in Italy, 1932-41) that led to a quasi-random allocation of thousands of families to farming plots. Using detailed information on the universe of settlers, we create measures of networks (families from the same origin) and diversity (fractionalization and linguistic similarity) in a narrow vicinity. We find that a larger network has a positive effect on productivity while diversity has a non-linear effect and depends on the economic potential of the plot. We further explore the mechanisms behind these results trying to shed light on the role of social bonds, cooperation, and learning. 

"Listen to me and I will respond": a randomized communication trial on health decisions

with Leonardo Boncinelli (PI), Ennio Bilancini and Folco Panizza. 

Winner of the PRIN 2023 grant from the Italian Ministry of Education and the NextEU Generation grant "Bando 30 mesi" at the University of Florence

Part of the EcoHETE project involving several departments at the University of Florence: Statistics (Department PI: Daniele Vignoli), Psychology (Department PI: Christian Tarchi), Political Sciences (Department PI: Laura Solito)

Disability and life expectancy over the XXth century: the role of collectivism

with Nicoletta Balbo, Danilo Bolano, Lotta Vikström, Johan Junkka and Erling Haggström Gunfridsson

Inheritance Norms and the Emergence of Political Preferences in Germany and Italy

with Felix Schaff

Non-intact Families and Children's Vaccination Coverage: Evidence from Italy 

with Veronica Dorgali, Raffaele Guetto, Valentina Tocchioni and Daniele Vignoli

Funded by the NextEU Generation grant "Bando 30 mesi" at the University of Florence

Part of the EcoHETE project involving several departments at the University of Florence: Statistics (Department PI: Daniele Vignoli), Psychology (Department PI: Christian Tarchi), Political Sciences (Department PI: Laura Solito)

Executive gender quotas and social services: evidence from Italy

with Flavia Cavallini and Olivia Masi

Abstract: We investigate the effect of executive female representation in local governments on the provision of different social services, in the context of Italy. While Italy is a high-income country, many families still rely on women to take care of children, the elderly, and family members in need of assistance. We exploit a 2014 reform that mandated 40% gender quotas in the executive committees of municipalities with more than 3000 inhabitants. To account for confounding policies introduced at the same cutoff, we employ a difference-in-discontinuities empirical strategy with additional identifying assumptions. We find that while the policy was effective in increasing female representation, it did not have an impact on any social services expenditures. 

Publications (pre-Ph.D.)

Landy, J. F., Jia, M. L., Ding, I. L., Viganola, D., Tierney, W., Dreber, A., ... & Crowdsourcing Hypothesis Tests Collaboration. (2020). Crowdsourcing hypothesis tests: Making transparent how design choices shape research results. Psychological Bulletin, 146(5), 451.