Pier Paolo Creanza

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics
Princeton University


I'm a PhD candidate in Economics at Princeton University, and affiliated with the Industrial Relations Section. My interests lie primarily within applied microeconomics, especially topics in Labor, Public and Historical Economics. My work in progress focuses on scientific productivity and innovation.

My first publication, "Institutions, trade and growth: the ancient Greek case of proxenia", is out on the Journal of Economic History.

This May, I will present my paper "Returning brains: tax incentives, migration and scientific productivity" at the 2024 Migration and Organizations Conference at Wharton.

This June, I will also present this paper at the BSE Summer Forum, workshop on the Economics of Science and Innovation.

You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.  My CV is here.

Contact: pcreanza@princeton.edu

To book office hours for ECO981 see my Calendly page.


Institutions, trade and growth: the ancient Greek case of proxenia [Paper] [Replication kit] - Journal of Economic History, Volume 84, Issue 1 (Lead Article)

Recent scholarship contends that ancient Mediterranean economies grew intensively. An explanation is Smithian growth spurred by reductions in transaction costs and increased trade flows. This paper argues that an ancient Greek institution, proxenia, was among the innovations that allowed such growth in the period 500-0 BCE. Proxenia entailed a Greek city-state declaring a foreigner to be its ‘public friend’, a status that conferred both duties and privileges. Arguably, the functions performed by ‘public friends’ could facilitate economic transactions between communities. Accordingly, network and regression analyses establish a strong relation between proxenia grants and trade intensity.

Working papers

'Returning brains':  tax incentives, migration, and scientific productivity

This paper investigates how tax incentives for high-skill immigrants affect productivity. I collect data covering 90 percent of Italian faculty between 2000 and 2020 and use it to evaluate a 2004 tax break targeting researchers. First, the program induced substantial migration and positive selection of beneficiaries. Second, higher-productivity hires increase their department's average productivity by 0.116 SDs, evenly split between their direct contribution and indirect responses of local faculty. However, this indirect effect  is largely explained by the subsequent inflow of higher-productivity local researchers. Third, productivity spillovers on incumbent researchers are  heterogeneous, but modest (0.024 SDs) and insignificant on average.

Work in progress

U.S. Innovation at the Rise of Corporate Concentration

The changing spatial concentration of innovative activity
- with Pietro Buri

The Red Scare and racial inequality
- with Leah Boustan, Ilyana Kuziemko and Suresh Naidu