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Full Professor
Department of Social and Political Sciences

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Courses a.y. 2021/2022


Courses previous a.y.

Biographical note

Born 7 February 1976. Degree in Economics and Social Disciplines (DES) at Bocconi University.  PhD in Economic and Social History.

Academic CV

Full professor of Economic History. His lectures are mainly about history and demography. He is an Associated Scholar of the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality (New York, U.S.).  He is also a Research Fellow of CEPR - Center for Economic Policy and Resarch (London, U.K.) and a Research Associate of CAGE - Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (Warwick, U.K.). At Bocconi University, he is a fellow of Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and of IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research). During 2013-2019 he served as director of the Master of Science in Economic and Social Sciences (ESS/DES). In 2002-2003, Visiting Scholar at École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France). In 2006, Visiting Research Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (U.K.). During 2006-2011, Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Glasgow (U.K.). In 2008, Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Population Studies, University of Umeå (Sweden) and Visiting Professor at Université Bordeaux3 (France). In 2010, Visiting Researcher at Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (U.K.) with a research grant from Wellcome Trust (U.K.). In 2011, Visiting Research of Centre Roland Mousnier (Paris, France). In 2012, Visiting Professor at EHESS - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. In 2013, Visiting Research at Nuffield College - Oxford University (U.K.). In 2015, Visiting Researcher at Utrecht University (Netherlands). In 2020, Visiting Researcher at London School of Economics (U.K.). In 2011 he was awarded an ERC Starting Research Grant for the project EINITE-Economic Inequality across Italy and Europe, 1300-1800 (project running from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016). In 2016 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Research Grant for the project SMITE-Social Mobility and Inequality across Italy and Europe, 1300-1800 (project running from 1 June 2017 to 31 May 2022).Member of the international research projects Institutional Family Demography (IFAMID) and Mobilités, Populations et Familles (MPF) and of other Italian and European research projects. Associate editor of Genus and member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic History. During 2009-2015, chief editor of  the journal Popolazione e Storia. Founder and organizer of the international scientific networks Patrinus (with Vincent Gourdon) and EI-Net: Economic Inequality Network.


Research areas

Economic and social inequality; social mobility; distribution and concentration of wealth in the early modern age; historical demography (history of plagues and other epidemics; history of famines); economic trends in pre-industrial Italy; social alliance systems and social networks; practices of godparenthood and name-giving.




Books: The Lion's Share. Inequality and the Rise of the Fiscal State in preindustrial Europe, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2019 (with Matteo Di Tullio), Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy. The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Palgrave, London, 2013 (Italian ed. ll Grand Tour dei Cavalieri dell'Apocalisse. L'Italia del 'lungo Cinquecento' (1494-1629), Marsilio, Venice 2010) and Fathers and Godfathers. Spiritual Kinship in Early Modern Italy, Ashgate, Aldershot 2009 (Italian ed. Padri, padrini, patroni. La parentela spirituale nella storia, Marsilio, Venice 2006). With Alessia Melegaro, he also published Pandemie d'Italia. Dalla peste nera all'influenza suina: l'impatto sulla società (transl. Italian pandemics. From the Black Death to the swine flu: the impact on the society), Egea, Milan 2010.

Edited books: Inequality in rural Europe, Brepols, Turnhout 2020 (with Erik Thoen); Famine in European History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2017 (with Cormac Ó Gráda); Le parrainage en Europe et en Amérique, Peter Lang, Bern 2015 (with Vincent Gourdon and Isabelle Robin); Spiritual kinship in Europe, 1550-1900, Palgrave, London 2012 (with Vincent Gourdon); Nella morsa della guerra. Assedi, occupazioni militari e saccheggi in età preindustriale (transl. Sieges, military occupations and sacks in preindustrial times), Franco Angeli, Milan 2013 (with Mario Rizzo); Storia economica e ambiente italiano (ca. 1400-1850) (transl. Economic history and the Italian environment, ca. 1400-1850), Franco Angeli, Milan 2012 (with Matteo Di Tullio and Luca Mocarelli); La gestione delle risorse collettive. Italia settentrionale, secoli XII-XVIII (transl. Managing the commons. Northern Italy, twelfth-eighteenth centuries) , Franco Angeli, Milan 2011 (with Riccardo Rao); Ricchezza, valore, proprietà in Età preindustriale. 1400-1850 (transl. Wealth, value and property in Preindustrial Europe. 1400-1850), Marsilio, Venezia 2009 (with Michela Barbot); Baptiser: pratique sacramentelle, pratique sociale (transl. Baptizing. Sacramental practice, social practice), PUSE, St Etienne 2009 (with Philippe Castagnetti and Vincent Gourdon); Il ruolo economico della famiglia (transl. The economic role of the family), monographic issue of Cheiron (45-46, 2006).

Main and most recent articles: "Epidemics, inequality and poverty in preindustrial and early industrial times", Journal of Economic Literature, forthcoming; "Economic inequality in preindustrial times: Europe and beyond", Journal of Economic Literature, forthcoming; "Plague and long-term development: the lasting effects of the 1629-30 epidemic on the Italian cities", Economic History Review, 72 (4), 2019, pp. 1175-1201 (with Marco Percoco); "A survival analysis of the last great European plagues: the case of Nonantola (Northern Italy) in 1630", Population Studies, 73(1), 2019, pp. 101-118 (with Marco Bonetti); "The timing and causes of famines in Europe", Nature Sustainability, 2018 (with Cormac Ó Gráda); “giniinc: A Stata package for measuring inequality from incomplete income and survival data”, Stata Journal, 18(3), 2018, pp. 692-715 (with Long Hong, Marco Bonetti and Chiara Gigliarano); “Long-term trends in economic inequality: the case of the Florentine State, ca. 1300-1800”, Economic History Review, 2017 (with Francesco Ammannati); “Plague and Lethal Epidemics in the Pre-Industrial World”, Journal of Economic History, 2017 (with Tommy Murphy); “The rich in historical perspective. Evidence for preindustrial Europe (ca. 1300-1800)”, Cliometrica, 2017; “First signs of transition. The parallel decline of early baptism and early mortality in the province of Padua (North East Italy) 1816-1870”, Demographic Research, 2017 (with Alessandra Minello and Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna); “Growing apart in early modern Europe? A comparison of inequality trends in Italy and the Low Countries, 1500–1800”, Explorations in Economic History, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2016.07.003 (with Wouter Ryckbosch); “Historical demography and the social history of godparenthood”, in K. Matthijs et al. (eds.), The future of historical demography, Acco Publishers, Leuven/Den Haag 2016 (with Vincent Gourdon); “Economic inequality in northwestern Italy: A long-term view (fourteenth to eighteenth centuries)”, Journal of Economic History, 2015, “Consequences of a universal European demographic transition on regional and global population distributions”,Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2015 (with Vegard Skirbekk and Marcin Stonawski); “Back to the peasants: new insights into the economic, social, and demographic history of northern Italian rural populations during the Early Modern period”, History Compass, 12/1, 2014; “Plague in Seventeenth Century Europe and the Decline of Italy: an Epidemiological Hypothesis”, European Review of Economic History, 17, 2013; "Fiscality and territory.  Ivrea and Piedmont between the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Centuries", in M. Vester (ed.), Sabaudian Studies. Political Culture, Dynasty, & Territory 1400-1700, Truman State University Press, Kirksville 2013; “Family rituals in Northern Italy (15th-17th Centuries)”, in S.K. Cohn, M. Fantoni, F. Franceschi, F. Ricciardelli (eds.), Symbols and Rituals in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, 2013; "Entrepreneurs, formalization of social ties, and trustbuilding in Europe (fourteenth to twentieth centuries)", Economic History Review, 65, 3, 2012 (with V. Gourdon); "Reformation, «Counter-reformation» and Economic Development from the Point of View of Godparenthood: an Anomaly? (Italy and Europe, 14th-19th Centuries)", in F. Ammannati (ed.), Religione e istituzioni religiose nell’economia europea. 1000-1800, Florence University Press, Florence 2012; "Social Customs and Demographic Change: the Case of Godparenthood in Catholic Europe", Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51, 3, 2012 (with Agnese Vitali and Vincent Gourdon); "The famine of the 1590s in Northern Italy. An analysis of the greatest «system shock» of sixteenth century", Histoire & Mesure, XXVI, 1, 2011; "Population dynamics, Malthusian crises and Boserupian innovation in pre-industrial societies: the case study of Northern Italy (ca. 1450-1800) in the light of Lee’s «dynamic synthesis», Rivista di Politica Economica, April-June 2010-2011; "The effects of plague on the distribution of property: Ivrea, Northern Italy 1630", Population Studies, 64, 1, 2010; "Wealth Inequalities and Population Dynamics in Early Modern Northern Italy", Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XL, 4, 2010; "Climate, population and famine in Northern Italy: general tendencies and Malthusian crisis, ca. 1450-1800", Annales de Démographie Historique, n. 2/2010; "Pestilenze e ‘crisi di sistema’ in Italia tra XVI e XVII secolo. Perturbazioni di breve periodo o cause di declino economico?", in S. Cavaciocchi (ed.), Le interazioni fra economia e ambiente biologico nell’Europa preindustriale, Florence University Press, Florence 2010; "Fêtes du baptême et publicité des réseaux sociaux. Grandes tendances de la fin du Moyen-âge au XXe siècle", Annales de Démographie Historique, 1, 2009; "Godparenthood and the Council of Trent: crisis and transformation of a social institution (Italy, XV-XVIIth Centuries)", Obradoiro de Historia Moderna, 18, 2009; "Tono istituzionale e migrazioni urbane: il ruolo dell’acquisto o della perdita dello status di capitale nelle dinamiche demografiche delle città italiane (secoli XIX e XVI), in E. Sori and A. Treves (eds.), L’Italia in movimento: due secoli di migrazioni (XIX-XX), Forum, Udine 2009; "La Iglesia y el padrinazgo. ¿Una institución social rebelde?", Revista de Demographía Histórica, XXVI, I, 2008; "Population and Environment in Northern Italy during the XVIth Century", Population, 4, 2007; "Households and Plague in Early Modern Italy" (with S.K. Cohn), in Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 38, 2007; "Nonantola 1630. Anatomia di una pestilenza e meccanismi del contagio (con riflessioni a partire dalle epidemie milanesi della prima Età Moderna)", Popolazione e Storia, 2/2007 (with  S.K. Cohn); "Geistige Allianzen: Patenschaft als Instrument sozialer Beziehung in Italien und Europa (15. bis 20. Jahrhundert", in M. Lanzinger e E. Saurer (eds.), Politiken der Verwandschaft, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2007; "Court history, prosopographic approach and careers' analysis" (with G. Guerzoni), The Court Historian, 12, 2007; "Naître sans famille: prénoms et parentés spirituelles des enfants trouvés dans l'Italie septentrionale (XVe -XVIIe siècles)", in J.P. Bardet e G. Brunet (eds.), Noms et destins des Sans Famille, PUPS 2007; "Spiritual Kinship and the others. Ivrea, XVIth-XVIIth Centuries", Popolazione e Storia, 1, 2006; "Les réseaux de marrainage en Italie du Nord du XVe au XVIIe siècle: coutumes, évolution, parcours individuels", Histoire, Economie et Société, 4, 2006; "Il ruolo economico del padrinato: un fenomeno osservabile?" (con V. Gourdon), Cheiron, 45-46,  2006; "Mobilità «matrimoniale» e mobilità «spirituale». L'integrazione territoriale per affinità e parentela spirituale nel basso Canavese tra Cinquecento e Seicento", Popolazione e Storia, 2, 2005; "Dalle pratiche alla norma: il Concilio di Trento e la riforma del padrinato in una prospettiva di lungo periodo", Società e Storia, 108, 2005; "La famille spirituelle des prêtres en Italie septentrionale avant et après le Concile de Trente: caractéristiques et transformations d'un instrument d'intégration sociale", Annales de Démographie Historique, 1, 2004; "La dinamica della popolazione dell'Italia settentrionale nel Cinquecento", Cheiron, 42, 2004; "E Pluribus Unum. La varietà delle forme di padrinaggio nell'Italia moderna e l'intervento «normalizzatore» del Concilio di Trento", Quaderni Storici, 114, 2003; "Dinamica demografica e concentrazione della ricchezza nelle popolazioni urbane di antico regime: quale legame?", in M. Breschi e P. Malanima (eds.), Prezzi, redditi, popolazioni in Italia: 600 anni, Forum 2002.