Antitrust Policies and Profitability in Non-Tradable Sectors (with Tim Besley and Nicola Limodio) - American Economic Review: Insights, Volume 3, Number 2, June 2021, Pages 251-65

Abstract: Firms in tradable sectors are more likely to be subject to external competition to limit market power while non-tradable firms are more dependent on domestic policies and institutions. This paper combines an antitrust index available for multiple countries with firm-level data from Orbis covering more than 10 million firms from 90 countries, covering 20 sectors over 10 years and finds that profit margins of firms operating in non-tradable sectors are significantly lower in countries with stronger antitrust policies compared to firms operating in tradable sectors. The results are robust to a wide variety of empirical specifications.

Working Papers

Backlash against Airbnb: Evidence from London (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Anti-globalization sentiments have been on the rise in recent years. In urban contexts, these attitudes may take the form of backlash against tourism. In this paper, I examine the role of Airbnb, a major short-term rental platform, in explaining the rising discontent against tourists. To do so, I construct a rich and spatially disaggregated dataset to study the consequences of Airbnb penetration in London. First, I document that 1 additional Airbnb tourist per 1000 residents increases complaints against tourists by 2.2 per cent. Secondly, I explore the roots - pecuniary and non-pecuniary - of these reactions. I find that higher Airbnb penetration is associated with a decrease in neighbourhood quality, while the housing market is only marginally affected. These negative externalities can be explained by a lack of monitoring and coordination by hosts, which are key differences between short-term renting and traditional hotel accommodations. Finally, I provide evidence that the deterioration of neighbourhood quality markedly reduces social capital, as measured by the number of charitable organizations, and worsens attitudes towards globalization, leading to higher support for Brexit.

Historical Roots of Political Extremism: The Effects of Nazi Occupation of Italy (with Tommaso Nannicini and Guido Tabellini)

Abstract: The Italian civil war and the Nazi occupation of Italy in 1943-45 occurred at a critical juncture, just before the birth of a new democracy. We study the impact of these traumatic events by exploiting geographic heterogeneity in the duration and occurrence of civil war, and the persistence of the battlefront along the "Gothic line" cutting through Northern-Central Italy. The Communist Party, which was more active in the resistance movement, gained votes in postwar elections in areas where the Nazi occupation was both longer and harsher, mainly at the expense of centrist parties. This effect persists until the late 1980s and appears to be driven by equally persistent changes in political attitudes. These results suggest that civil war and widespread political violence reshape political identities in favor of the political groups that emerge as winners. This benefits extremist groups and hurts moderates, since the former are more involved in violent conflict.

Work in Progress

Emigration and Long-Run Economic Development: the Effects of the Italian Mass Migration (with Marco Manacorda, Gianluca Russo and Marco Tabellini)

Entrepreneurial skills: Learning by Renting