Action Institute

Action Special – A Memory of Alberto Alesina


Date: 11 June 2020

Type: Other

Topic: Action Institute

With the present Special, we want to pay tribute to Alberto Alesina, a founding member of our Scientific Committee. Two weeks after he passed away, we wanted to present you a collection of research papers, articles, and memories describing his professional and civic contribution.


During his lifetime, Professor Alesina largely contributed to the evolution of political economy and thanks to his intuitions, nowadays, thousands of scholars have the opportunity to study the interactions among complex economic phenomena, institutions, and politics. Professor Alesina was an intellectual and moral reference point for an entire community of economists, policy-makers, academics, and students.


Below you will find the publications we selected.



nberStructural reforms and elections: evidence from a world-wide new dataset. (NBER, Alberto Alesina, Davide Furceri, Jonathan D. Ostry, Chris Papageorgiou, Dennis P. Quinn, January 2020). The paper shows the effects of liberalizing reforms on the economy and it investigates how the electoral effects depend on the state of the economy at the time of the reform.

nberDiversity, immigration and redistribution. (NBER, Alberto Alesina, Stefanie Stantcheva, January 2020). Capturing the different attitudes and biases about immigrants and minorities, the experts investigate the effects of racial diversity and immigration on support for redistribution in the US and Europe.

nberNation-building, nationalism and wars. (NBER, Alberto Alesina, Bryony Reich, Alessandro Riboni, May 2017). The paper illustrates different ways of implementing nation-building in times of war and explores its motivations and effects.

nberIs it the “how” or the “when” that matters in fiscal adjustments?. (NBER, Alberto Alesina, Gualtiero Azzalini, Carlo Favero, Francesco Giavazzi, Armando Miano, November 2016). The authors explain the effects of fiscal consolidations on output, especially referring to their composition and the phase of the business cycle when they are introduced.

nberOld and young politicians. (NBER, Alberto Alesina, Ugo Troiano, Traviss Cassidy, February 2015). The paper investigates the effect of a politician’s age on his career strategic choices using data on Italian local government.

voxCut deficits by cutting spending. (Vox.EU, Alberto Alesina, November 2012). The author discusses the effectiveness of public spending cuts in order to boost economic recovery in Europe.
voxWhy the Left should learn to love liberalism. (Vox.EU, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, October 2007). The authors claim that reforms and pro-market policies should be adopted, and not discarded, by European Left governments to increase efficiency, equality and, justice.
jmcbCentral Bank independence and macroeconomic performance: some comparative evidence. (Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Alberto Alesina, Lawrence H. Summers, May 1993). The authors investigate the correlation between central banks’ independence and a series of real economic variables.


cdsGli esperti e la fiducia. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, May 3rd, 2020). The authors explain the central roles of scientists and experts in troubled times, such as the current COVID-19 crisis and the financial crisis of 2008.
cdsTutto ciò che serve contro il virus (e la crisi). (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, March 10th, 2020). The authors discuss the importance and the means to avoid a fall of consumption in response to the supply shock caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

cdsGli europei non sono poi così divisi. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, September 24th, 2018) Alesina presents the results of one of his studies with G. Tabellini and F. Trebbi, in which they claim that Western Europeans think alike with respect to several social, political and work-related aspects and they should not let their controversies ruin the Union.

cdsGli italiani all’estero fanno onore al paese. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, December 22nd, 2016). The author proudly explains the diverse and different paths of the Italians abroad, pointing out their skills and capabilities.
cdsE adesso pensate a famiglie e imprese. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, April 22nd, 2013). The authors outline some proposals to re-launch the economy after the sovereign debt crisis.

cdsSpendere meno non è impossibile. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, January 30th, 2012). The article summarizes the differences in terms of impact on the real economy of two types of restrictive fiscal policies: the cut of public spending and the increase of taxation.

cdsGiovani e lavoro: verità scomode. (Corriere della Sera, Alberto Alesina, Francesco Giavazzi, January 22nd, 2012). The authors discuss the downsides of the Italian labour market, characterized by a strong intergenerational disparity in terms of contracts and protections.

wsjTax Cuts vs. ‘Stimulus’: the evidence is in. (The Wall Street Journal, Alberto Alesina, September 15th, 2010). The author explains the different effects of fiscal adjustments on the real economy, referring especially to the expansionary effects of spending cuts.
The economistBlanchard roundtable: understanding our limits. (The Economist, Alberto Alesina, January 29th, 2009). The article reports the point of view of the author on the appropriate ways of crisis handling by governments, pointing out the differences between his and Blanchard’s approach.
wsjEurope needs a Big Bang. (The Wall Street Journal, Alberto Alesina, Mario Calvo-Platero, July 12th, 2004). The article discusses Europe’s future perspectives encouraging the Union to implement structural reforms to foster growth.


washington postIt is hard to imagine the field of political economy without Alberto Alesina. (Washington Post, Lawrance H. Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard University, May 24th, 2020).

cdsGiavazzi, la memoria di Alesina: Le cime dell’Alaska, il lavoro delle donne e il nostro dialogo ininterrotto da 30 anni. (Corriere della sera, Francesco Giavazzi, Professor at Bocconi University and Research Associate at NBER, May 24th, 2020).

cdsMonti ricorda Alberto Alesina: la Bocconi, Harvard e il giovane artefice della moderna «political economy». (Corriere della sera, Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and Italian ex-President of the Council of Ministers, May 24th, 2020).
promktAlberto Alesina Always Knew Where The Big Ideas Were. (Promarket, Paola Giuliano, Professor at UCLA and Research Associate at NBER, May 24th, 2020).

ilfoglioAlberto Alesina, il mentore che mi ha reso più forte col potere del dubbio. (Il Foglio, Carlotta De Franceschi, President and Co-Founder of Action Institute, May 25th, 2020).

ilfoglioAlesina was one of the most creative economists of his time. (Il Foglio, Guido Tabellini, Member of the Scientific Committee of Action Institute and Professor at Bocconi University, May 26th, 2020).

The economistThe legacy of Alberto Alesina. (The Economist, May 28th, 2020).

ftAlberto Alesina, economist, 1957-2020. (Financial Times, May 29th, 2020).


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