Bocconi at the Forefront of Cooperative Research ProjectsTHE CIVICA RESEARCH ALLIANCE HAS APPROVED FUNDING FOR SEVERAL PROJECTS WHICH BOCCONI FACULTY PARTICIPATE IN OR LEAD
The European network CIVICA Research, to which Bocconi belongs, has announced the winners of funding after the latest call for projects. These projects are cooperations between different universities, and Bocconi professors are working on seven of these projects, two of them as project leaders.
PPPL (Political Polarization and Prospective Learning), led by Bocconi with Luca Braghieri of the Department of Decision Sciences together with Germany’s Hertie School, explores key drivers of the choice to avoid conversations that go beyond the so-called “echo chambers”, i.e. the exclusive interaction with like-minded individuals and politically aligned news. This phenomenon is widely considered a major cause of the increasing polarization of society. The project aims at investigating the nature and the strength of the belief system by which people become convinced that there is nothing to learn from those who do not share their political opinions. As Luca Braghieri explains, “we want to understand to what extent people underestimate the advantages of interacting with others who have different mindsets, because if discussions with political opponents are seen as a waste of time, the basics of democratic exchange may become endangered.”
EPO-WG (European Polarisation Observatory Working Group) is another project co-led by Bocconi, with Nicolò Cavalli of the Department of Social and Political Sciences, Sciences-Po and Central European University. This is actually the second step of a wider undertaking; in the first stage, a network of scholars for the development and use of multidimensional political opinions in Europe was established and new methods to understand polarization in Europe were developed. With this second phase, researchers seek to build on this established network to advance towards a European Polarization Observatory, that is a self-sustainable social media observatory infrastructure.
Equilearn, whose group includes Andrea Celli of the Department of Computing Sciences, studies machine learning by multiple agents in an interactive environment. It starts with a specific model of competition between firms which price a good over a number of time periods. The learned pricing strategies then evolve as a population over time. The research may explain how learning algorithms lead to price collusion rather than full competition.
Dystena, a project to which Ronald Burt of the Department of Management and Technology takes part, seeks to contribute to the development of computational tools for the analysis of text data by combining recent advances in topic modeling and network analysis to help track the dynamics of discourses on social media and examine how these influence policies and norms.
Merita, whose members include Joseph Simon Goerlach of Bocconi’s Department of Economics, intends to develop a multi-disciplinary forum on the topic of integration of migrants in Europe, across a wide spectrum of disciplines (Political Sciences, Law, Management, Sociology and Economics).
DigiPublicValues explores how public values can be preserved when the delivery of digitized public services is delegated to private actors. After identifying the role of private digital providers in the provision of public services, it addresses mechanisms to protect public values and ensure digital sovereignty in the context of digital public-private partnerships in a number of sectors. Bocconi’s Giovanni De Gregorio is a member of the working group co-ordinated by Oreste Pollicino of the Department of Legal Studies.
Greeningbanks will address the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy by first examining how environmentally-minded depositors can influence banks, using detailed data from France. The second part of the project will expand on other stakeholders to discuss what factors impede or favor the transition at a global scale. The project team includes Clement Jonathan Mazet-Sonilhac of Bocconi’s Department of Finance.
CIVICA Research brings together researchers from eight leading European universities in the social sciences to contribute knowledge and solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The project aims to strengthen the research & innovation pillar of CIVICA, the European University alliance. CIVICA Research is co-funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. To stay up to date with CIVICA Research developments and opportunities, subscribe to the newsletter.
by Andrea Costa