Ongoing Projects

1. Working Papers

Pursuing Environmental and Social Objectives through Trade Agreements

(With Joseph Francois, Bernard Hoekman and Miriam Manchin)

Abstract: Using a large dataset covering more than 180 countries and spanning several decades, we employ a SDID estimator to identify the extent to which trade agreements incorporating non-trade provisions (labor standards, environmental protection and civil and political rights) are associated with improvements in corresponding non-trade performance indicators. We distinguish between binding (enforceable) and non-binding provisions in trade agreements, and also control for the allocation of official development assistance targeting these three non-trade policy areas. Overall, the results suggest that efforts made to date to include non-trade provisions in trade agreements have not resulted in consistent desired (better) non-trade outcomes. 

Past WP version: Non-Trade Provisions in Deep Trade Agreements and Non-Trade Outcomes (WB WP series)

CEPR ebook Paper Data

Government Demand and Firms Growth

(With Bernard Hoekman, Marco Sanfilippo and Rohit Ticku)

Abstract: Using detailed administrative data, this paper analyzes the role of government demand on firm performance in Uganda. Firms that sell to the government experience increases in total sales and sales per employee. Overall sales growth associated with selling to government entities is partly at the expense of a reallocation of firm-level supply away from non-government buyers, suggesting there may be short-term capacity expansion constraints. The results are substantiated in an event study approach that accounts for the potential self-selection of firms into government procurement, as well as the heterogeneity in the timing of selection into public procurement. The reduction in sales to the private sector is persistent. It is less acute for firms in services, and within services, among firms that use low-skill labor, suggesting capacity constraints may not be only short-term.

Paper IGC Policy Brief Data

Digital Trade, Data Protection and EU Adequacy Decisions

(With Martina Ferracane, Bernard Hoekman, and Erik van der Marel)

Abstract: Using a structural gravity model, we assess whether EU adequacy decisions on data protection are associated with bilateral digital trade. Controlling for digital-relevant bilateral covariates, including preferential trade agreements and other binding data flow arrangements, we find that countries that received EU adequacy exhibit an increase in digital trade between 6-14 percent, representing a trade cost reduction up to 9 percent. This is mostly driven by the EU granting adequacy to the U.S., reflecting the dominance of the EU and U.S. in global digital trade. We also find that countries that have an EU adequacy determination exhibit greater digital trade among each other, suggestive of a network or club effect. Complementary country-specific analysis of post-adequacy digital trade performance using synthetic control methods confirms the positive effects of adequacy.

Paper Politico DigitalBridge   Financial Times

2. Ongoing projects

3. Coming soon projects, or ideas I will work on some day

Eternal Working Papers

A Synthetic Index on the COVID19 Impact on Italian Regions

(With Giorgia Giovannetti and Margherita Velucchi)

Abstract: The COVID 19 pandemic has generated a worldwide health and economic crisis. Italy has been the first OECD country to be hit at the end of February 2020 and therefore the first to decide on the measures to contrast it. From March 10 to May 18, 2020 Italy locked down the entire country. It was a Governmental emergency decision, taken to limit the spreading of the pandemic, to reduce its impact on the health system and to protect the population. Health was considered the top priority in front of the exponentially increasing numbers of cases and deaths. Different regions in Italy were hit with different strengths, with on average northern regions more affected. This paper studies the evolution of the COVID 19, based on the burden it imposed over the regional health system during that first wave of the COVID 19 pandemic. Relying on detailed regional information, we calculate a measurable and comparable metric to track the evolution of the pandemic across region, over the entire lockdown period in Italy. We propose two different indices, one with fixed base and one with a mobile base, highlighting and comparing two different perspectives over the same phenomenon and showing how different regions have been hit by the pandemic. These indices could also be used in a comparative and long run perspective analyzing different countries and phases of the pandemic over time and possible reaction curves.

Paper Data

Migrants know better: Migrants’ networks and FDI

(With Giorgia Giovannetti and Margherita Velucchi)

Abstract: We use the instruments of the social network analysis to revisit the relationship between international migration and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows in the period between 2000 and 2015. Applying a multilevel mixed estimator inspired to the gravity literature, we test how and to what extent the structure of the international migrants’ network contributes to bilateral FDI flows. We find that the inclusion of network level statistics exposes a much larger degree of complexity in the relationship between international migration and investments. Testing the assumption that migrants networks act as preferential channel for information with their homeland, we find evidence that a more diverse immigrant community in investing countries could “perturb” the flow of information at bilateral level, de facto translating into lower bilateral FDI.

Paper Data