Anthony Bertelli Studies How Institutions Affect Public PoliciesGROWING UP IN PENNSYLVANIA DURING THE YEARS OF DEINDUSTRIALIZATION, UNDERSTANDING ECONOMICS FOR HIM MEANT UNDERSTANDING WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN HIS COMMUNITY
How do democratic values translate into public policymaking? How can political-economic thinking make sense of the structures of public administration? These are everyday questions for Anthony M. Bertelli. He recently became Full Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management, coming to Bocconi from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. “Bocconi is one of the best places in the world to think about social problems through a political-economic lens”, he says. “In the last few years, my work has become more and more comparative, so I am also interested in analyzing Italian institutions”.
Being from an area of Western Pennsylvania that went through massive industrial decline in the 1980s, Tony was surrounded by economic issues when finishing high school. “Understanding economics meant understanding what was happening in my community”. A first-generation college student, his father wanted him to do something practical, so he majored both in Economics and Business at the University of Pittsburgh and the completed a master’s degree program in Economics at Pennsylvania State University. “Microeconomics was interesting, but not completely captivating to me, so I decided to go to Law School. It was there that I realized I was much more interested in the way policies are made than I was in practicing law”. He therefore applied for a PhD in Public Management and Policy at the University of Chicago.
Tony found his research niche in analyzing the way institutions influence public policymaking. “I began focusing on the ways judges force administrative agencies to change their policies. In the United States, school desegregation or prison reform were largely done through courts”. He broadened his research using a comparative perspective, focusing particularly on United Kingdom and European countries, finding for himself “a very comfortable middle ground between political science and public policy and administration”. At the top of his agenda is now a book project about how democratic values such as accountability or participation are translated into the structure of public administration in different countries. He is also studying how private-public partnerships are structured.
Professor Bertelli is Senior Executive Editor of the Journal of Public Policy and a member of the National Academy of Public Administration, an institution that gathers distinguished public administration practitioners and scholars in the United States. He is a second-generation Italian-American. “This is a good starting point to develop a connection with this country”.
by Claudio Todesco