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Politecnico di Milano

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

P.zza Leonardo da Vinci 32 - 20133 - Milano

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Ricercatore di Ruolo in Prova

Assistant Professor, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano

In person: Office 3.05, Building BL26, Via R. Lambruschini 4b, Milan, ITALY.

Areas of specialization: science, creativity, mobility of the highly-skilled human capital, crowdsourcing, IPRs.

Executive teaching Intellectual Property Rights; patent intelligence; high-tech start-ups; forecasting the adoption of radically new products

B.E. teaching Economia e Organizzazione Aziendale (TEL)


Current Projects

Crowd Science (with H. Sauermann). In a recent paper published in Research Policy, we build on three case studies (Galaxy Zoo, and Polymath) to define and analyze Crowd Science, as a new way to organize scientific projects that employs the work of volunteers (citizen scientists, gamers, hobbyists) and involves the open disclosure of logs and intermediate knowledge. In a follow-up study funded by the Economics of Knowledge Contribution and Distribution Program of Sloan Foundation in collaboration with the Zooniverse Project we are investigating the patterns of crowd dynamics, with a focus on enduring participation and dropout. Some of the results would be applicable more generally to all crowd interactions, beyond the realm of science.

Crowdfunding (with C. Rossi-Lamastra and M.G. Colombo). In a new article forthcoming in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice we find evidence that the social capital that proponents builds internally to the crowdfunding community is critical to succeed in the early days of a funding campaign, and thereby leverage capital later on. We interpret this as evidence of reciprocity norms. The reward types that allow a donor to be part of the developer community turn-out more useful than any other type of reward. Those that give contributors peer-to-peer recognition seem to be ineffective or nearly so. 

Global Science (GlobSci) (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). We are analyzing 19 thousand responses from a survey to scientists in 16 countries and 4 fields of science. Statistics on the international composition of the workforce in the 16 countries were published in Nature Biotechnology. In a second paper appeared in Economic Letters, we find evidence that the foreign-born perform at a higher level compared to the domestic scientists and the performance differential is robust to instrumenting for selection into migration (by means of migration in childhood). In a third paper we have found that mobile scientists are more inclined to establish international networks. A sizeable share of foreign born collaborate with researchers located in their country of origin and migrants are also likely to collaborate with individuals from their home country who are working or studying in a third country (diaspora effect). Evidence on the competition of countries to attract international PhD and post-doc students has been presented at the NBER Workshop on High Skill Immigration (October 2012). We are currently working at ethnic composition of research teams.


Journal articles (selected)

- Internal Social Capital and the Attraction of Early Contributions in Crowdfunding. forthcoming in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (with M.G. Colombo and C. Rossi-Lamastra).

- The Mover's Advantage: The Superior Performance of Migrant Scientists (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). Economics Letters, 122:89–93, 2014. (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). [abstract]

- Inventor's Knowledge Set as the Antecedent of Patent Value. In press in Industry & Innovation, 21(1):65-87, 2014 (with Ali Mohammadi).

- Crowd Science: The Organization of Scientific Research in Open Collaborative Projects. Research Policy, 43(1):1-20, 2014. (with H. Sauermann). [article open-access].

- Bridges or Isolates? Investigating Social Networks of Academic Inventors. Research Policy, 42(8):1378-1388, 2013. (with M. Sobrero and E. Forti) [abstract]

- Foreign Born Scientists:  Mobility Patterns for Sixteen Countries. Nature Biotechnology, 30(12):1250-1253, 2012. (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). [abstract]

- Changing Incentives to Publish. Science, August 5 2011, 333, 702 (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). [publisher] [article reprint]

- The Organisation, Economics and Policy of Scientific Research. What do we know and what we don’t. Industrial and Corporate Change, 20(1):201-213, 2011. (with C. Antonelli and A. Geuna).

- The grace period in international patent law and its effects on the timing of disclosure. Research Policy, 39:200-213, 2010. (with G. Scellato). [abstract]

- Using Content Analysis to Investigate the Research Paths Chosen by Scientists Over Time, Scientometrics, 83(1):321-335, 2010. (with Simpkins C.L., Li B. and Ram A.). [abstract]

- Do Scientists Get Fundamental Research Ideas by Solving Practical Problems?, Industrial and Corporate Change, 18:671-699, 2009. Emerald Citation of Excellence 2009. [preprint]

- The Unequal Benefits of Academic Patenting for Science and Engineering Research, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 56(1):16-30, 2009. (with M. Calderini and A. Vezzulli).

- If Star Scientists Do Not Patent. The Effect of Productivity, Basicness and Impact on the Decision to Patent in the Academic World, Research Policy, 36(3):303-319, 2007. (with M. Calderini and A. Vezzulli).

- Opportunity recognition in technology transfer organizations. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 3(1):51-67, 2007.


Working papers

- Choice of Country by the Foreign Born for PhD and Postdoctoral Study: A Sixteen-Country Perspective (with P. Stephan and G. Scellato). NBER Working paper number 18809.

- Return of Migrant Scientists: Selection and Performance (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). Work in progress.

- Migrant Scientists and International Networks (with G. Scellato and P. Stephan). NBER Working Paper number 18613.

- How scientists diversify their research interests: Empirical evidence from a new methodology (with C. Rossi-Lamastra).

Participation dynamics in crowd-based knowledge production: The scope and sustainability of interest-based motivation (with H. Sauermann). [ssrn working paper]


Book Chapters

- Academic entrepreneurship: critical issues and lessons for Europe” in Varga A. (Ed.), Edward Elgar, pp.163-190, Cheltenham (UK), 2009, ISBN 9781845429317 (with Francesco Lissoni). [book chapter]

- Patenting in Public Research: an evidence-based reflection on IPR and the basic-applied trade-off in Santangelo G.D. (Ed.), The Nature of Technological Change and the Role of Science and Multinationals in Catching-up Processes, Edward Elgar, pp.59-71, Cheltenham (UK), 2005 ISBN 1845424824 (with Mario Calderini).


Press coverage of research

Nature jobs, December 4, 2013

Courrier International (Le Monde), April 22, 2013

Die Zeit, April 18, 2013

Corriere della Sera, October 28, 2012

Nature, October 18, 2012

IEEE Spectrum, September 22, 2012

Times Higher Education, May 24, 2012

Inside Higher Education, May 15, 2012

Link Pagine Personali


  • Applied Economics


  • Industrial and Innovation Economics


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