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Emanuele Colonnelli

Emanuele Colonnelli

Fall 2014 and Spring 2016 Graduate Fellowship Recipient
Stanford Center for International Development (SCID)


Emanuele Colonnelli is a PhD candidate in Economics at Stanford University. His main research focuses on corporate finance and development economics, with a special interest in innovation and the constraints to firm productivity and growth. He is currently working on research projects in Brazil, Ghana, Uganda, and the U.S, he has research and work experience in several other countries including Bangladesh, Malawi, and India, and he is the recipient of a number of grants and awards. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Siena, an MSc in Economics from Bocconi University, and he spent an academic year visiting Pembroke College, Oxford University. Prior to joining Stanford, he worked as a researcher at IGIER (Bocconi University) and as director and founder of a non-profit organization.

Fellowship research abstract (Fall 2014)

Transparency, Firm Performance, and Business Networks: Evidence from the Construction Sector in Uganda

The goal of this exploratory project is to shed light on a specific source of market frictions, namely low levels of corporate transparency, which is particularly relevant for low-income countries. First, we will conduct a mix of extensive face-to-face and phone interviews with managers of firms in the construction sector in Uganda, and all other agents and sub-contractors operating in their supply chain, to produce three main datasets to be linked to each other: 1) a dataset that describes all the links among firms and other agents, and measures of their strength, so as to create the full business network; 2) a novel dataset that will contain unique information about a set of variables related to corporate transparency at the establishment level; 3) a dataset that contains management practices and balance sheet- type of information to construct measures such as productivity, investment, innovation, wages, and employment. Second, we aim to provide preliminary evidence on the causal impact of firm transparency on firm performance, supply chain relationships and contractual terms, and market entry and exit. Our empirical strategy also allows us to analyze the relationship between network characteristics and firm’s level of productivity and management practices, and between network position and perceptions about firm transparency. We hope this research can generate interest in what we consider to be an ambitious but fundamental policy and research question, that of better understanding the role that soft information, trust, and transparency play for the growth of enterprises in developing countries.

Read more about Colonnelli's research

Fellowship research abstract (Spring 2016)

Corrupt Links: An Experimental Anti-Corruption Program in Uganda

Business corruption is pervasive in the economy. Public procurement in developing countries represents a prime example of this, especially in relation to the construction sector. Government agencies and public officials around the world spend substantial resources in purchasing goods and services, and investing in large construction projects. Yet, these investments are often plagued by corruption and inefficiency, which are considered to be one of the major barrier to the functioning of a competitive private sector and the growth of less developed economies. This project aims to estimate the extent of such frictions, and to understand the main causes behind them. A special emphasis is on evaluating a novel anti-corruption mechanism and studying its direct and spillover effects on the private sector. The goal of this project is to study an experimental anti-corruption program where the monitoring and punishment for the misconduct of public officials is randomly varied.