Here you have a small resumé of my academic activity. My cv can be found here.


I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in economics and econometrics at the University of Verona. My background is in international and civil law. I am a former attorney and international consultant, but I have a PhD in economics from Collegio Carlo Alberto. I am currently involved in a Horizon2020 project, an EU Cost Action on judicial efficiency, and a Jean Monnet Module on legal and economic innovation.

A paper extracted from the chapter of my doctoral thesis – “Are polarized courts dangerous for litigation? Evidence from French labor courts” – is published in the Journal of Institutional Economics (Cambridge University Press) and is available at the following DOI. The paper uses a sophisticated instrumental variable (the epidemic disaster of phylloxera and the collapse of the wine market) to explain the current propensity of trade unions to litigate, thereby shedding light on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms among French labor courts.

A second paper extracted from my doctoral thesis – “The expertise effect: the impact of legal specialists’ intervention on the timely delivery of laymen’s judgments” – analyzes the role of specialized attorneys and professional magistrates in inducing long litigation among tribunals managed by lay judges, using three instrumental variables rooted in historical evidence and intuition to cope with endogeneity issues. This paper is published in the journal Economia Politica, available at the following DOI.

Another work on court efficiency focuses on the role of post-colonial roots (specifically, the division between common and civil law countries) in explaining differences among international criminal judges’ qualification of serious international crimes, particularly genocide and crimes against humanity. The paper highlights statistically significant differences between judicial panel majorities in determining the final verdict (guilty/not guilty) based on historical institutional roots.

A second stream of research focuses on a pure political economy problem and examines politicians, productivity, and electoral incentives. I am currently refining a paper named “Love Never Betrays. Deputies Do. An empirical study of parliamentarians’ productivity,” which uses various historical instrumental variables to explain the betrayals attitudes of members of parliament, explaining, in turn, how they affect MPs’ legislative productivity.

A second paper, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Senatorial Absenteeism and Lawmaking Productivity,” analyzes senatorial productivity and underlying incentives regarding absenteeism and political rent-seeking, with an eye on the political commitment (or legal exclusion for such commitments) of the population.

I am also investigating (with the colleagues A. Zago & D. Lubian) the role of the spritz cocktail in Italy’s expansion in the international market. In light of the recent positions expressed against abortion by some members of the government who intend to provide subsidies to anti-abortion associations, I am also investigating (with the colleague F. Paruzzo) the (un)constitutional role of medical conscientious objections in women’s fundamental rights to manage their own bodies.

My current research agenda is particularly dense, but I am ready to discuss any collaboration for the future. I am currently collecting data on the current pandemic shock to produce two empirical works on altruism and trust in others. Finally, regarding justice efficiency, I am involved in massive data collection on crimes and determinants of the limitation period in Italy.

– –

All papers are protected under the Italian and European copyright law.
All copyright infringements will be pursued according to the law.

– –

© Umberto Nizza, All rights reserved.