Two Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors Receive Prestigious ERC Starting Grants

Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professors Gino Gancia and Nicola Gennaioli, both CREI Researchers, have been selected to receive Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) in its 2009 call for proposals.

The ERC Starting Grants support early-career top research leaders who are about to establish or consolidate an independent research career in Europe. The grants are available to researchers in all fields of science, engineering, and scholarship.

For the Call just concluded the ERC expects to fund some 240 top researchers from the 2,503 proposals submitted for consideration this year, with an estimated total budget of € 325 million. This new wave of grantees follows the 299 researchers who received grants in the first Starting Grant competition in 2007.

Professors Gancia and Gennaioli join four other GSE affiliated professors who received grants from the ERC in 2007 and 2008. Joachim Voth (ICREA-UPF) and Jordi Galí (CREI) received Advanced Grants, while Marta Reynal-Querol (UPF) and Jan Eeckhout (UPF) received Starting Grants. The selection of another affiliated professor of the Barcelona GSE, Antoni CaIvó-Arrnengol (UAB), was truncated by his untimely death.

The total number of ERC Grant recipients (6) highlights the outstanding research that takes place in the Barcelona GSE community; as of September 2009, no other institution in Europe counted six grant recipients in Economics.


Prof. Gino Gancia investigates “Globalization, Optimal Policies and Growth”

Prof. Gino Gancia’s project “Globalization, Optimal Policies and Growth” is aimed at studying new challenges to policy-making in a world where markets are increasingly integrated.

“The project is articulated along two main lines,” Prof. Gancia said. “The first focuses on optimal competition and IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) policies in open-economy models of endogenous innovation and technology diffusion. One of the main questions is whether trade liberalization in large developing countries, such as China and India, should be followed by a loosening of global IPR protection, to speed up technology diffusion, or by a tightening, to protect innovation rents. The second line of research focuses instead on policy externalities due to globalization.

“The main theme is that the process of globalization is creating a growing mismatch between political borders (nations) and economic borders (markets),” Prof. Gancia explained. “This mismatch is becoming more and more relevant and has important implications, which I plan to explore, for the size of government, environmental regulations and the world political structure.”


Prof. Gino Gancia in his office at CREI. He will receive an ERC Starting Grant for his project, "Globalization, Optimal Policies and Growth."

Prof. Gancia (PhD, Stockholm University 2003) is a Researcher at CREI and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Economics at the UPF. During the 2009-10 academic year he is teaching in the GSE’s MSc in Economics and MSc in International Trade, Finance, and Development.


Prof. Nicola Gennaioli analyzes “Institutions and Globalization”

Prof. Nicola Gennaioli’s project, “Institutions and Globalization,” will analyze the ways in which national institutions interact in the international arena. “This is an important and unexplored territory,” Prof. Gennaioli explained. “Economists have recently shown that developed economies rely on proper institutions for securing property rights and resolving disputes. Scholars have studied the consequences of alternative legal and political institutions, but much remains to be done.”

Prof. Gennaioli’s project will examine the problem from two perspectives: first, how does the quality of a country’s national institutions affect its gains from international integration? And second, how does international integration affect a country’s institutional reform path?

“We address the first question by studying, both theoretically and empirically, the impact of national institutions on sovereign risk, namely on the risk that a government unilaterally decides ex-post not to honour its financial obligations with foreigners. While the impact of national institutions on private capital flows has been studied, the role of these same institutions on supporting government debt has so far received scant attention,” Prof. Gennaioli said.

“As for the second question, we study the impact of political and financial integration on countries’ institutional reform. We model two different motivations towards institutional change in an integrated world: direct confrontation in wars and competition through world financial markets.

“The general thrust of these analyses is that institutional reform becomes a strategic variable in international competition, creating cross-country externalities that may shed light on observed patterns of institutional converge, divergence or stagnation,” Prof. Gennaioli said. “We also consider the role of institutional harmonization in supporting economic integration.”


Prof. Nicola Gennaioli will use his Starting Grant for his project, "Institutions and Globalization."

Prof. Gennaioli (PhD, Harvard University 2004) is a Researcher at CREI and Assistant Professor of Economics at the UPF. He has taught in the GSE’s MSc in Economics. During the 2009-10 academic year, he is conducting research at Harvard University.


Links of interest

European Research Council

Barcelona GSE Research

Calvó-Armengol International Prize in Economics