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 now forthcoming on the Journal of Economic History.

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 [SSRN] [Replication kit] - Forthcoming on the Journal of Economic History

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 [Draft coming soon]

This paper investigates whether common tax schemes aimed at inducing high-skill immigration produce positive productivity spillovers on native workers. While recent contributions have provided evidence that such policies induce the expected migration effects, little is known about broader benefits in terms of innovation or economic performance. To shed light on this question, this paper focuses on an Italian tax break targeting researchers and uses publication data to measure productivity. Despite finding a reasonably strong first-stage in terms of migration and positive selection of beneficiaries, estimated spillovers are very small in magnitude, statistically insignificant and precisely estimated. These results cast doubt on the ability of broad and loosely-targeted incentives to produce measurable benefits on natives' productivity.

Work in progress

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

Details to follow.

Historical geography of innovation

Details to follow.