Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I am Pietro Dindo. I teach and research Microeconomics and Financial Economics at Ca' Foscari, especially concerning the analysis of financial market properties, both in terms of resource allocation and aggregation and disclosure of information otherwise dispersed among investors.
Tell us about your academic path.
After studying theoretical physics, I realised that my research interests were not in understanding nature but in society and economics, thanks to a brief work experience in the trading room of Mediobanca. I decided to undertake a PhD in economics and my desire to go abroad led me to the University of Amsterdam. After my PhD, I spent a few years in Pisa, first at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna as a postdoc and then at the University of Pisa as a researcher. A generous European grant allowed me to continue my work at Cornell University as a Marie Curie Fellow — a very stimulating experience. When I returned to Italy I won a competition and became an Adjunct Professor here at Ca' Foscari.
Is there an area you have always wanted to be involved in but have not yet had the opportunity to explore?
One of the most useful and used instruments in economics, and therefore one of the most fascinating, is money. However, not all aspects of determining the value of money have been defined, and the scientific discussion is still alive. This discussion raises important considerations on the use of money for economic policy actions. I have not yet had the opportunity to contribute to this discussion, partly because it is very specialised and, perhaps inevitably, political, but I confess that I would like to do so in the future. Doing so as a researcher at Ca' Foscari would be fantastic, given the role that the Banco del Giro played as the ancestor of central banks and the use that the Serenissima made of it in fighting the plague in 1630.
What are you most passionate about in your field of research?
Ultimately, economists study the mechanisms for allocating resources in order to improve the material well-being of a society. What fascinates me most about my field of research is understanding when financial markets can also contribute to this goal and when they do not work properly and lead to opposite results. Although I often deal with these issues in an abstract way, using mathematical formalisms that are not immediately understandable, in the end the objectives are very practical.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Let us start with research. In short, research aims at reducing the complexity of relevant phenomena. This reduction takes place on two sides: the questions — what are the most important features and why they are interesting or why we should examine them — and their answers. Often the quality of an answer depends on the quality of the question, and great innovations take place on the side of questions. Teaching means passing on both questions and answers. Here, too, questions play a key role, otherwise answers would prove incomprehensible. Teaching is about passing on questions and answers about already known phenomena and using simplified language, but the objective is still 'to reduce complexity' by passing on knowledge and skills.