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Politecnico di Milano

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

P.zza Leonardo da Vinci 32 - 20133 - Milano

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Email: tommaso.agasisti(at)

Tel. +39.02.2399.3963


Short bio. 

I hold a Laurea Degree in Economics, and a PhD in Management Engineering.

I am Associate Professor at Politecnico di Milano School of Management, Department of Management, Economics & Industrial Engineering where I teach Economia e Organizzazione Aziendale and Public Management

I am Co-Delegate for the area Institutions & Public Administration (I&PA), and member of the Management Committee, at MIP-Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business. I am co-director of the Executive Master in University Management (M.SUM) and Executive Master in School Management (M.MES); since 2014, I am also teaching coordinator of the Executive Master in Public Management for Federalism (M.EMMPF). 

I am Associate Editor of the academic journal Higher Education Quarterly (HEQ), and member of the editorial board of other two academic journals, Tertiary Education And Management (TEAM) and Educational Researcher (ER).


My research activity is focused on Public Economics, Finance and Management, and the mainstream is in the field of economics and management of educational services.

Overall, my research interests can be grouped into four main areas:

(i) The use of non-parametric and parametric methods (such as Data Envelopment Analysis and Stochastic Frontier Analysis) for evaluating the performance of public organisation, with special reference to educational institutions (universities and schools; recently I am applying the techniques also to municipalities and hospitals). A specific part of my contribution in this field is in promoting cross-country comparisons, for instance by estimating efficiency scores of universities operating in different EU countries.

(ii) The study of governance models for Higher Education institutions and systems; in this area, my work aimed at describing also funding systems (i.e. funding formulas) that can stimulate better performances of HE institutions, as well as the promotion of pro- competitive (i.e. quasi-markets) policies.

(iii) The analysis of the process of adopting accrual accounting in public organisations, in the spirit of New Public Management reforms, with a special attention to universities. More specifically, I investigated which are the main obstacles or positive drivers towards the adoption of this new accounting system, and how the process of adoption influenced technically the financial reports (i.e. similarities, common accounting principles, etc.). 

(iv) The quantitative study of the determinants of schools and students’ performances, through the estimation of educational production functions by means of econometric and statistical methods. In this area, I also conducted specific studies to assess whether institutional features (i.e. school choice and competition) and/or managerial practices can have an effect on students and schools’ results, as measured through standardized test scores.


Selected publications

  • Agasisti, T., Salerno, C., (2007), “Assessing the cost efficiency of Italian universities”, Education Economics, 15(4), 455-471.
  • Agasisti, T., Dal Bianco, A., (2009), “Reforming the University Sector: Effects on Teaching Efficiency. Evidence from Italy”, Higher Education, 57(4), 477-498.
  • Agasisti, T., Johnes, G., (2009), “Beyond Frontiers: Comparing the Efficiency of Higher Education Decision-Making Units Across More than One Country”, Education Economics, 17(1), 59-79.
  • Agasisti, T., (2009), “Market Forces and Competition in University Systems: Theoretical Reflections and Empirical Evidence from Italy”, International Review of Applied Economics, 23(4), 463-483. 
  • Agasisti, T., Johnes, G., (2010), “Heterogeneity and the Evaluation of Efficiency: the Case of Italian Universities”, Applied Economics, 42(11), 1365-1375.
  • Agasisti, T., (2011), “How competition affects schools’ performances: does specification matter?”, Economics Letters, 110(3), 259-261.
  • Agasisti, T., (2011), “Performances and spending efficiency in Higher Education: a European comparison through non-parametric approaches”, Education Economics, 19(2), 199-224. 
  • Agasisti, T., Catalano, G., Perez Esparrels, C., Morales, S., (2012), “Expenditure on Higher Education per Student Converging Across EU-15 Countries after the Bologna Process?”, Studies in Higher Education, 37(2), 235-252. 
  • Agasisti, T., Murtinu, S., (2012), “Perceived competition and performance in Italian secondary schools: new evidence from OECD-PISA 2006”, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5), 841-858. 
  • Agasisti, T., (2013), “The competition among Italian junior- secondary schools: a variance-decomposition empirical analysis”, Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 84(1), 17-42. 
  • Agasisti, T., (2014), “The efficiency of public spending on education: an empirical comparison of EU countries”, European Journal of Education, 49(4), 543-557.
  • Agasisti , T., Longobardi, S. (2014), “Inequality in education: can Italian disadvantaged students close the gap?”, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 52(1), 8-20.
  • Agasisti T., Barbieri G. & Murtinu S. (2015). “Private school enrolment in an Italian Region after implementing a change in the voucher policy”, Journal of School Choice, 9(3), 380-406.
  • Agasisti T., Arena M., Erbacci A. & Catalano G. (2015). “Defining spending reviews: a proposal for a taxonomy, with applications to Italy and the UK”, Public Money and Management, 35(6), 423-430.
  • Agasisti T., Catalano G., Di Carlo F. & Erbacci E. (2015). “Accrual accounting in Italian universities: a technical perspective”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, 28(6), 494-508.


Forthcoming publications

  • Agasisti, T., Bolli, T., Johnes, G. (2015), “The impact of institutional student support on graduation rates in US PhD programmes”, Education Economics, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti, T., Murtinu, S. (2015), “Grants in Italian university: a look at the heterogeneity of their impact on students’ performances”, Studies in Higher Education, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti T., Murtinu S. & Sibiano P. (2015). “The heterogeneity of the ‘private school effect’ in Italian primary education. CESifo Economic Studies, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti T. & Wolszczak-Derlacz J. (2015). “Exploring efficiency differentials between Italian and Polish universities, 2001-2011”, Science and Public Policy, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti T. & Haelermans C. (2015). “Comparing efficiency of public universities among European countries: different incentives lead to different performances”, Higher Education Quarterly, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti, T. & Ricca L. (2015). “Comparing the efficiency of Italian public and private universities (2007-2011): an empirical analysis”, Italian Economic Journal, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti, T., Soncin M. & Valenti R. (2015). “School factors helping disadvantaged students to succeed: empirical evidence from four Italian cities”, Policy Studies, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti T. (2015). “Cost structure, productivity and efficiency of the Italian public higher education industry 2001-2011”, International Review of Applied Economics, forthcoming.
  • Agasisti T., Dal Molin M. & Turri M. (2015). “New Public Management reforms in the Italian universities: managerial tools, accountability mechanisms or simply compliance?”, International Journal of Public Administration, forthcoming. 


Current projects and working papers

  • Agasisti T., Barra C. & Zotti R. (2015). “Evaluating the efficiency of Italian public universities (2008- 2011) in presence of (unobserved) heterogeneity”, SIEP Working Paper n. 700, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica (Italian Society of Public Economics).
  • Agasisti T. & Zoido P. (2015). “The efficiency of secondary schools in an international perspective: preliminary results from PISA 2012”, OECD Education Working Papers, n. 117, OECD Publishing, Paris.
  • Agasisti T., Ieva F., Masci C. & Paganoni A.M. (2015). “Does class matter more than school? Evidence form a multilevel analysis of Italian junior secondary school students”, MOX Report 32/2015, MOX, Dipartimento di Matematica “F. Brioschi” Politecnico di Milano.
  • Agasisti T., Dal Bianco A. & Griffini M. (2015). “The public sector fiscal efficiency in Italy: the case of Lombardy municipalities in the provision of the essential public services”, SIEP Working Paper n. 691, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica (Italian Society of Public Economics).
  • Masci C., Ieva F., Agasisti T. & Paganoni A.M. (2015). “Bivariate multilevel models for the analysis of mathematics and reading pupils’ achievement”, MOX Report 18/2015, MOX, Dipartimento di Matematica “F. Brioschi” Politecnico di Milano.
  • Agasisti T. (2014), “How does schools’ efficiency look like across Europe? An empirical analysis of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and UK using OECD PISA 2012 data”, SIEP Working Paper n. 675, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica (Italian Society of Public Economics).
  • Agasisti T. and Belfield C. (2014), “Efficiency in the Community College Sector: Stochastic Frontier Analysis”, Community College Research Center Working Paper n. 69, Teachers College Columbia University.
  • Agasisti T., Longobardi S. and Regoli A. (2014), “Does public spending improve educational resilience? A longitudinal analysis of OECD-PISA data”, SIEP Working Paper n. 669, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica (Italian Society of Public Economics).
  • Agasisti T., Ieva F. and Paganoni A.M. (2014), “Heterogeneity, school-effects and achievement gaps across Italian regions: further evidence from statistical modelling”, MOX Report 07/2014, MOX, Dipartimento di Matematica “F. Brioschi” Politecnico di Milano.
  • Agasisti T. and Falzetti P. (2013), “Between-classes sorting within schools and test scores An empirical analysis of the Italian junior secondary schools”, INVALSI Istituto nazionale per la valutazione del sistema educativo di istruzione e di formazione Working Paper n. 20/2013. 


Academic grants and fellowships

  • 2013: I obtained one of the INVALSI grant “Research ideas” with a project (developed in collaboration with Sergio Longobardi) about the use of stochastic frontier and multilevel models for efficiency analyses of INVALSI data (indicative period of research: January – December 2014).
  • 2014: I obtained one of the TJ Alexander Fellowships promoted and funded by OECD (Fall 2013 edition), with a proposal about the use of OECD-PISA data for conducting efficiency analyses (indicative period of research: June 2014 – June 2015).
  • 2014: I obtained one of the Politecnico di Milano Grant for Basic Research (FARB) with a project (developed in collaboration with Emanuele Lettieri, Anna Paganoni and Francesca Ieva) about the use of statistical modelling for developing performance evaluations of schools and hospitals (project’s title: “Public Management Research: Health and Education Systems Assessment”; indicative period of research: April 2014 – March 2017).
  • 2015: I am responsible for the Politecnico di Milano Unit of the Horizon2020 project called EdEN - Education Economics Network, 2016-2018. 


(Recent) visiting research periods

  • Summer, 2013: visiting scholar at Teachers College – Columbia University, US (collaboration with prof. Henry Levin) and at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP), New York University, US (collaboration with prof. Leanna Stiefel).
  • 2014, Summer/Fall: visiting research fellow at OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), within the program TJ Alexander Fellowship that I obtained, OECD, Paris, France.





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