Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
My name is Valeria Maggian and I’m an associate professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. I teach Public Economics on the Economics Markets and Finance undergraduate degree, Arts and Culture Economics and Taxation on the EGART postgraduate programme, and Behavioural and Experimental Economics I on the doctorate in Economics.
My research falls within behavioural and experimental economics. My focus is on the analysis of tax fraud and on the policies to control it, as well as on the causes and possible solutions to the gender gap, in particular at the top of businesses.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
No. After high school I started studying Economics because I thought I would have more chances of getting a job. And that was true: I had the opportunity to work for one of the Big Four. However, this experience wasn’t really what I was looking for — during my experience at university, I had always looked for practical applications of what I had been studying, particularly in courses like Microeconomics and Game Theory, and I found it fascinating to consider how theoretical models related to the real world, in politics and in society in general. After my experience as a research assistant, I understood that it was what stimulated me the most, so I started my doctorate in Economics.
What do studying and researching mean to you?
Economics is a social science, meaning its study object is human behaviour. Researching within Economics to me means accessing the rigorous tools of maths to try and explain real world phenomena that relate to other sciences, such as Sociology, Psychology and Philosophy. To me, research is a blend of creativity and discipline, in equal parts. It’s similar to painting a canvas with other painters who come from entirely different backgrounds. It’s very difficult to see the whole picture, but even contributing to it with tiny improvements is a great achievement.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
The path of a researcher can be hard and uncertain at times, but if you face it with passion, dedication and resilience, it can be very satisfying. To quote Ariel Rubinstein: “Remember that you are one of the most privileged people on earth. Society has given you a wonderful opportunity. You are supposed to do whatever you want, to think about new ideas, to express your views freely, to do things in the way that you choose and on top you will be rewarded nicely. These privileges should not be taken for granted. We are extremely lucky — we owe something in return.”