New Marie Curie project: 15 PhD students to study expectations


What role do expectations play in shaping the behaviour of economic agents? And how can they influence the real economy and our chances of overcoming the economic and financial crisis that we are currently facing? These are the questions that will be tackled by Ex-SIDE, a project bringing together eight leading European universities and nine non-academic partners that has been funded by the European Commission with 3.9 million euros as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions.

This Innovative Training Network (ITN) aims to train young researchers, equipping them with the cross-disciplinary skills in behavioural economics, psychoanalysis, network theory and simulation of computational networks necessary to tackle the challenge of understanding how expectations influence economic decisions and to advise decision makers on targeted policies.

Fifteen young researchers, or "early stage researchers", will be selected from April 2017 onwards to undertake a joint PhD awarded by two of the participating institutions, which include – in addition to Ca’ Foscari – Bielefeld, Amsterdam, Louvain-la-Neuve, the Sorbonne university of Paris, the Università del Sacro Cuore (Milan) and University of Surrey (in collaboration with University College London).

Ex-SIDE is the acronym of "Expectations and Social Influence Dynamics in Economics”, a name underlining how the dynamics of economic processes are affected by the economic climate and expectations of economic operators.

ITN Ex-SIDE is an ambitious project that will also involve a series of joint activities with enterprises and bodies like the Regione Veneto Divisione Lavoro (Veneto Region Employment Department) and ISTAT, the Italian statistics agency, along with numerous public events for the dissemination and discussion of results gradually produced from 2017 to 2020.

"Although the concrete measures implemented by institutions during a crisis are of key importance, it is clear that the climate and expectations of those involved influence results in ways that have yet to be adequately understood. Excessive pessimism, for example, leads to a reduction in investments, and fear of the future may thwart the efforts made by governments and various bodies” was the comment made by Paolo Pellizzari, the economist and mathematician in charge of the project for Ca’ Foscari who is currently carrying out studies into tax revenue and evasion analyses using computer simulations.

The University will provide support and will participate in two of the studies carried out by the 15 young researchers involved. The first project will use laboratory experiments to focus on how expectations actually develop (Head of Research is Michele Bernasconi, lecturer in Public Economics). The second project, carried out at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve and directed by Professor Marco LiCalzi on behalf of Ca’ Foscari, who will investigate the role of personal network and the influence of the opinions of others in decision-making processes.