Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
My name is Davide Raggi, and I teach Econometrics. In general, I am interested in the study of computational methods to analyse statistical and economic problems. What I really like, however, is not only focusing on methodology, but on finding a way to apply possibly complex methods to real problems, to try to make a small contribution to the discussion on issues of public interest.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Statistics and Economics at the University of Padua, where I also took my PhD in Statistics. My main interest was in computational methods for statistics, with applications to economic/financial models. I was then researcher and associate professor of Econometrics at the Department of Economic Sciences at the University of Bologna, for about 15 years, before coming to Ca' Foscari.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
The greatest satisfactions are those that come after much effort. When after months or years of work, and often a lot of frustration, you finally get credible and consistent results. Those are the satisfactions I am looking for. If these results then turn into good scientific publications, then it is even better.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I didn't always think it was my path. I got there a bit by chance. I was obviously keen on my dissertation and had achieved some results. But at the time I would have never have thought of pursuing an academic career. After graduating, however, I had the opportunity to work as a junior researcher at the 'E. Mattei' Foundation, where I began to observe the academic environment from a different perspective. At the same time, some of my friends started their PhD studies, although in completely different fields. So I decided to try this route, which eventually led me here.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their careers?
It takes patience and perseverance. Before tackling any problem, you should build a theoretical foundation, both mathematical/statistical and economic. Without these, I think it is impossible to find replicable and consistent results. It is important not to get too disheartened when things do not go well and results are slow to come. It is also important to know how to get by, to be able to carry out an idea or a project independently, rather than always relying on a more senior figure. Sometimes there are no ready-made solutions to a problem, so you need to tackle it in an original way, perhaps by drawing on different disciplines and sometimes by just relying on your own skills.