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A Brief History of IGIER

IGIER is the acronym for Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research. The research center was named in memory of Innocenzo Gasparini, former rector of Bocconi University, who encouraged young Italian economists to go and study abroad since the 1970s and 1980s.

In the winter of 1989, Francesco Giavazzi, Mario Monti, and Richard Portes agreed that the time was ripe for trying to attract back to Europe some of the young European economists who were building successful careers in America. They recognized that one of the main reasons behind the flight of young European economists was the absence of university research centers in Europe with "critical mass."

An early initiative in this direction had been the Castelgandolfo conferences, set up by Luigi Spaventa to provide a forum for discussing economic policy issues relevant not only to Italy, but also of more general interest. Many young European economists presented papers there.

The idea of an Italian research center was discussed further with William Branson and Stanley Fischer at a seminar at Princeton organized by the Ford Foundation in the following spring. These meetings, and other informal discussions, offered further encouragement to proceed.

In the summer of 1990, Bocconi University made local facilities available and awarded a start-up grant to support the project. The Commission of the European Community under the auspices of its SPES program provided an additonal grant to finance fellowships. In the fall of 1990, the rector of Bocconi, the director of CEPR, and the president of NBER signed a letter of agreement describing the aims of the project and the responsibilities of the three institutions, and dedicating the new institute to the memory of Innocenzo Gasparini.

IGIER was inaugurated on November 26, 1990.

Last updated August 2, 2019