Professor Giacomo Ponzetto awarded ERC Starting Grant

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A total of 17 competitive grants from the European Research Council have been awarded to current BSE Affiliated Professors.


BSE Affiliated Professor Giacomo Ponzetto (CREI, UPF and BSE) has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for his project, "Citizens, Institutions and Globalization." 

European Research Council Starting Grants are highly competitive and awarded to research talent with less than seven years of experience and a scientific track record showing great promise, as determined by a panel of scientific peers. The ERC grants have quickly become indicators of world-class research across all academic disciplines.


Current BSE Affiliated Professors all stages of their research careers have received a total of 17 ERC grants:

  • 7 ERC Starting Grants for promising researchers just establishing their careers
  • 4 ERC Consolidator Grants for mid-career researchers
  • 6 ERC Advanced Grants for established research leaders

Full list of ERC Grant recipients and projects in the BSE research community

About the project: "Citizens, Institutions and Globalization"

This project focuses on the interplay between citizens’ political participation, policy-making institutions and globalization. It aims to study which conditions create democratic support for trade- and productivity-enhancing policies; when and why voters support instead measures that hinder trade and reduce aggregate surplus; and how the architecture of government should and does react to globalization.

In particular, the first part of the project studies the puzzling popularity of protectionism and how lobbies can raise it by manipulating information. It will investigate how greater transparency can cause lower trade barriers. It will also study how voter psychology makes concentrated losses more salient than diffuse benefits.

The second part of the project studies inefficient infrastructure policy and the ensuing spatial misallocation of economic activity. It will show that voters’ unequal knowledge lets local residents capture national policy. They disregard nationwide positive externalities, so investment in major cities is insufficient, but also nationwide taxes, so spending in low-density areas is excessive. Moreover, it will consider how behavioral biases cause voter opposition to growth-enhancing policies and efficient incentive schemes like congestion pricing.

The third part of the project studies how the size of countries and international unions adapts to expanding trade opportunities. It will focus on three forces: cultural diversity, economies of scale and scope in government, and trade-reducing border effects. These can explain increasing country size in the nineteenth century; the rise and fall of colonial empires; and the recent emergence of regional and global economic unions, accompanied by a peaceful increase in the number of countries.

About Giacomo Ponzetto

Giacomo Ponzetto is a senior researcher at CREI and an affiliated professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the BSE, as well as a research affiliate of CEPR and an associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association. His research lies at the intersection of Political Economy and International and Regional Economics. He has written on political and legal institutions, on the political economy of trade policy, on federalism and political centralization, and on entrepreneurship and the spatial distribution of economic activity. His research has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Public Economics and Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

In addition to his research activities, Prof. Ponzetto teaches in the BSE master's programs and the GPEFM doctoral program (UPF and BSE), as well as the BSE Political Economy Summer School and the CREI Macroeconomics Summer School.

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