Ph.D. program in Methods and Models for Economic Decisions
A significant part of economic analysis is about the processes of decision making. Consumers and producers, workers and firms, banks and managers, households and policy makers continuously make economically relevant decisions. Economists and management theorists are interested in understanding, predicting, or modifying the processes underlying these decisions.
The analysis of decisions relies on methods and models that differ significantly according to the different fields of research. For instance, classical decision theory is largely based on abstract mathematical modelling, while more recent research in behavioral decision theory significantly relies on experimental methods. Econometric models are used to investigate the determinants of specific decisions, such as those concerning labor, transports, or health. Computational methods are used to simulate how artificial agents interact, and to investigate the effects of their interaction.
The PhD program in Methods and Models for Economic Decisions trains young researchers to master the variety of theoretical and applied approaches that are used in economics and management theory for analyzing decision-making processes. The students will acquire a broad set of research skills in model construction and data analysis, and thus become capable of understanding the complex phenomena related to decision making in a multidisciplinary perspective. PhD students will then focus on a specific field of analysis and develop their own research program under the supervision of a faculty member.
The courses are taught in English, and the program lasts three years. At the end of the third year students submit their PhD dissertation, which is usually made of three research papers.
Master Degree (second or single cycle, national or foreign title).
Assessment criteria for admission:
- graduation final mark (max 20 points);
- relevance of the final dissertation for the Ph.D. topics (max 10 points, the candidate must submit an abstract of the thesis or its integral version);
- publications and conference presentations on topics relevant for the Ph.D. program (max 10 points);
- training activities and professional experience relevant for the Ph.D. (max 10 points);
- any other assessable qualification, including language certifications and up to 3 recommendation letters (max 10 points).
Only candidates awarded with a minimum of 45 points for the qualification assessment will be admitted to the interview.
Candidates will be interviewed on their scientific interests and their motivations for applying to this specific Ph.D. program. The interview, which can be evaluated up to a maximum of 60 points, will also test the basic knowledge of economics and quantitative topics, as well as the knowledge of English, and could involve a discussion of possible research lines related to the PhD.
The candidate may perform the interview in English.
Attendance and teaching methods
In the first year, students attend the Program’s courses at the Department of Economics of Insubria University, which is located in Varese. These are not the standard first-year courses in quantitative methods, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, but cover the specific and more advanced topics in decision theory addressed by the PhD program. Tailor-made solutions for students necessitating to improve their knowledge of quantitative methods, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics will be identified.
In the first year, students also identify the broad topic of their PhD dissertation and the member of the PhD board who will serve as their supervisor. Finally, they pin down the topic for their first research paper.
The second and third years are entirely dedicated to research. Students work on their research papers and progressively define theme and structure of their PhD dissertation. Students are expected to attend seminars and other training events held at the Department of Economics.
In addition, students are strongly encouraged to spend part of the second and third years in foreign universities and research institutions. They can choose among universities having exchange programs with Insubria University (e.g. the University of Jena) or institutions particularly active in their field of research.
During the second and the third year, students are also encouraged to present their research papers at internal seminars and international conferences, and then submit them to international journals.
First year’s courses
- Mathematical Methods for Decision Making (Giovanni Paolo Crespi)
- Economic Theories of Decision Making (Ivan Moscati)
- Advanced Econometrics for Decision Making (Raffaello Seri)
- Decision Making in Economic-Historical Perspective (Carlo Brambilla)
- Multiobjective Optimisation (Matteo Rocca)
- Taxation, Income Distribution and Individual Decisions (Francesco Figari)
- Transport Decision Making: Theory and Practice (Elena Maggi)
- Applied Health Economics (Silvana Robone)
- Contemporary Entrepreneurship and Family Business Research (Alfredo Biffi – Daniela Montemerlo)
- Law and Decision Making (Alba Fondrieschi– Sergio Patriarca – M. Cristina Pierro – Vincenzo Salvatore )
- Research methods (Paola Tubaro)
Other courses related to the PhD program’s topic will be held by external professors visiting the Economics Department.
Address: c/o Dipartimento di Economia – DiECO
Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
Via Monte Generoso 71 - 21100 Varese – Italy
Coordinator: Professor Ivan Moscati
Tel.: +39 0332 395512 | Fax: +39 0332 395509
You can enroll after a public competition based on qualifications and an oral examination (see section on Admission requirements.)
An application can be submitted by Italian and non-Italian citizens who have completed or are completing their graduate studies.
For all information, please see also: