The new VERA Centre aims at improving resilience in economics and society, preventing, predicting, measuring, and managing risks thanks to the use of big data sources. Big data has changed the way that we understand existing social challenges, and it has created entirely new research questions, which call for advances in science. The goal of the VERA Centre is to investigate these new questions focusing on three main thematic macro-areas of interest in public policy making: welfare and wellbeing, environment, macroeconomics and finance.

Main research activities

Analysis of social risks related to welfare system and wellbeing

The challenge is to understand how to ensure economic growth and social wellbeing for a socio-economic system with complex structure and dynamics. The complexity of the relationships between markets, institutions and public authorities makes the decision process even more difficult. A first response to this challenge is the opportunity to analyse and integrate big data from different sources (individual micro-data, experimental data, big data from administrative records, georeferenced data, etc.) to support the decision making process.

Key topics

  • Active ageing and demographic change
  • Agent-based models
  • Behavioural economics
  • Decision sciences
  • Education policy
  • Gender equality
  • Health economics
  • Inequalities
  • Integration
  • Long term care
  • Migration
  • Regional studies
  • Smart agrifood and sustainability
  • Smart cities and energy efficency
  • Welfare

Analysis of environmental and climate risks and related impacts

Economic analysis at territorial level for disaster risk assessment and management, including the analysis of the different physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes such as climate change, overconsumption of natural resources, poverty and inequality. Big data from sensor networks and from social media provide the opportunity to improve disaster risk prediction and management.

Key topics

  • Climate econometrics
  • Data and model comparisons 
  • Downscaling of global changes to regional/local environments for integrated assessment of socio-ecosystems
  • Identification of abrupt climate shifts
  • Integrate climate. Socio-economic and enviromental modelling
  • Natural and anthropogenic climate changes
  • Near-term climate prediction and predictability
  • Observation and monitoring of present and global climate variability
  • Risk, vulnerability and adaptation assessment for climate change

Analysis of financial and macro-economic risks

Analysis and evaluation of financial and macroeconomic risks, also in cooperation with financial authorities. The activity and regulation of financial markets produce a large amount of data that can be an essential source of information for a deep understanding of the agent behaviour and the markets dynamics. Big data can be used in the supervisory activity to measure and manage financial risks and market instabilities.

Key topics

  • Behavioural analysis
  • Big data in health economics
  • Blockchain and crypto-currencies
  • Climate risk and insurance
  • Cyber-risk
  • Data analytics and tourism
  • Data analytics for wealth managment
  • Digital banking and high frequency trading
  • Econometric methods and machine learning
  • Energy efficiency finance
  • ESG risk assessment
  • Financial and macroeconomic risks
  • Finetech and insur-tech
  • Modelling structured high dimensional data
  • Networks data analysis and modelling

VERA selected publications

Authors Year Title Journal Volume Issue Pages
Colonnello S., Efing M., Zucchi F. 2019 Shareholder bargaining power and the emergence of empty creditors Journal of Financial Economics 134 2 297-317
Corazzini L., Galavotti S., Valbonesi P. 2019 An experimental study on sequential auctions with privately known capacities Games and Economic Behavior 117 Sep 2019 289-315
Billio M., Casarin R., Rossini L. 2019 Bayesian nonparametric sparse VAR models Journal of Econometrics 212 Sep 2019 97-115
Colonnello S., Curatola G., Gioffrè A. 2019 Pricing sin stocks: Ethical preference vs. risk aversion European Economic Review 118 Sep 2019 69-100
Di Corato L., Maoz Y. 2019 Production externalities and investment caps: A welfare analysis under uncertainty Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 106 Sep 2019
Gottardi P., Maurin V., Monnet C. 2019 A theory of repurchase agreements, collateral re-use, and repo intermediation Review of Economic Dynamics 33 Jul 2019 30-56
Bianchi D., Billio M., Casarin R., Guidolin M. 2019 Modeling systemic risk with Markov Switching Graphical SUR models Journal of Econometrics 210 1 58-74
Dindo P. 2019 Survival in speculative markets Journal of Economic Theory 181 May 2019 1-43
Casarin R., Costola M. 2019 Structural changes in large economic datasets: A nonparametric homogeneity test Economic Letters 176 Mar 2019 55-59
Teglio A., Mazzocchetti A., Ponta L., Raberto M., Cincotti S. 2019 Budgetary rigour with stimulus in lean times: Policy advices from an agent-based model Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 157 Jan 2019 59-83
Dindo P., Staccioli J. 2018 Asset prices and wealth dynamics in a financial market with random demand shocks Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 95 Oct 2018 187-210
Costantini M., Paradiso A. 2018 What do panel data say on inequality and GDP? New evidence at US state-level Economics Letters 168 Jul 2018 115-117
Casarin R., Sartore D., Tronzano M. 2018 A Bayesian Markov-Switching Correlation Model for Contagion Analysis on Exchange Rate Markets Journal of Business and Economic Statistics 36 1 101-114


From a methodological point of view, the research activity of the Centre requires the development of:

  • new methods and econometrics models for the analysis of large databases, high frequency data and georeferenced data, taking into particular consideration the interaction with other disciplines such as statistics, mathematics and machine learning;
  • agent based model and multi-agent model for simulating interactions among heterogeneous actors to evaluate effects and impacts on the policy decisions system;
  • lab and field experiments is a prerequisite for the link between different techniques of data collection, data analysis and data modelling in economic and social fields.

Researchers at the Department of Economics already have experience and produce scientific results in these fields making it possible to develop frontier research, and applied research over the five years of the project (and beyond).

The VERA Centre boosts research carried out within the existing research centres of the Department of Economics such as the Center for Experimental Research in Management and Economics (CERME), the Netspar-Italy Interuniversity Center (CINTIA) and the International Center for Economics and Finance (ICEF).