Department of Economics and Social Sciences

The Department of Economics and Social Sciences (DiSES) groups together faculty and researchers in the fields of Economics, Statistics Demography, Economic History and Sociology, together with administrative and ICT staff.

Research activity

DiSES has a long-standing tradition in far reaching interdisciplinary research projects that have involved a large part of the department members, for many years led by Giorgio Fuà. This group of economists working together as a team soon became known as the "Ancona Group".

The first outstanding research project on long-term Italian economic development carried out by the Ancona Group started in 1964. The study was part of a larger international programme on the comparative growth experience of seven industrial countries promoted and financed by the Social Science Research Council (USA) and led by Simon Kuznets and Moses Abramovitz. The Italian section of this project focused on the study of the national economic system and its long term development since the political unification of Italy in 1861.

A second research project was started towards the end of the sixties. The main objective was to build a systematic framework for the analysis of alternative economic policy measures in the short term. The characteristic of the project was the development of a simplified, but effective econometric model of the Italian economy, as opposed to the larger, but much more complex model that was being developed at the same time by the Bank of Italy.

In the following decades other far reaching research projects contributed to shed light on the peculiar features of the Italian economy as a late developing country and gave rise to new successful lines of enquiry both at the national and international level. The underlying idea was that late developers don’t follow the path of the forerunners but that the development path of each country is influenced by its social, cultural and geographic conditions as well as by the moment in which it takes off. Seminal works were published on the dualism of the Italian labour market and the factors responsible for the existence of a large black/grey sector, the structural tendency to macroeconomic instability in late developing European Countries and the regional distribution of economic activity and infrastructure, with particular emphasis on the birth and development of the Italian industrial districts for which the term NEC model was coined.

Today, with an enlarged and younger body of scholars, the lines of research of the department have widened considerably, as it can be easily demonstrated by the Department wp series.

Working papers

DiSES publishes, in Italian and/or in English, a series of working papers: "Quaderni di Dipartimento ". They are devoted to the research work carried out within the Department and are available online (

Didactic Activity

DiSES faculty members are involved in providing the Faculty with courses in the fields of economics, statistics and econometrics, economic history and sociology. In addition they provide advanced courses and tutorials for the department's Doctoral Programme.

Research Doctorate Programme

DiSES is the driving force of the Research Doctorate: Economics (for more detailed information please see Research Doctorate Programmes)