One million Euros to study how the social interactions among Chiaromonte’s inhabitants produce positive externalities: the little town in Basilicata that was made popular in the Fifties by Banfield’s studies is once again the object of an important research project thanks to Marco Percoco’s work (Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management).
“My project,” Percoco explains indeed, “entitled Social and Spatial Interactions in the Accumulation of Civic and Human Capital, has earned a FIRB (Fondo per gli Investimenti della Ricerca di Base) grant from the Italian Ministry of Education reserved to young researchers, that will let me verify if the conclusions to which Edward Banfield arrived are still applicable or if, after more than half a century has passed, anything has changed”.
“Banfield’s studies’ results”, Percoco explains, “were systematized in the concept of ‘amoral familism’ and ‘social capital’. The Harvard political scientist identified in Chiaromonte’s inhabitants’ scarce cooperative sense one of the causes of the town’s underdevelopment”, Percoco continues, “and he thought that the reason of that scarce cooperation was precisely due to the unequal distribution of wealth”.
The research project, therefore, takes its starting point from this theory, analyzing the social relationships among Chiaromonte’s inhabitants within a historic-geographical perspective, in order to verify whether the starting conditions of strong inequality in the land distribution affected families’ decisions to invest in human and social capital, in other words the civic sense.
Launched in March, the three-year project foresees the involvement of Università Bocconi, with the collaboration of Paolo Graziano (Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management) and Tommaso Nannicini (Department of Economics) and of the universities of Palermo, Bologna and Roma La Sapienza.
Born in Chiaromonte, Marco Percoco teaches Urban and Regional Economics, Policy Evaluation and Macroeconomics for the Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management.