Prof. Pietro Biroli

UBS Foundation Assistant Professor of Applied Economics

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Pietro Biroli obtained his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 2015. Pietro’s research focuses on the early origins and life cycle evolution of health and human capital. Specifically, he explores the importance of genetics, family investment, and childhood interventions in explaining socioeconomic inequality. He has investigated how mothers’ empowerment and children’s human capital can be shaped by attending high-quality early childhood education, or providing psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers. In other work, he has investigated the molecular genetic architecture of risk aversion, and integrated insights from human genetics into an economic model of gene-environment interaction in the formation of health and human capital. With his work, Pietro aims to understand the mechanisms through which effective policy interventions and optimal choices of investment can help mitigate innate inequalities and promote health and human capital development.

Interests

Labor Economics, Education & Health

UBS Foundation Assistant Professor of Applied Economics

Prof. Pietro Biroli

Discover Prof. Pietro Biroli on

Pietro Biroli obtained his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 2015. Pietro’s research focuses on the early origins and life cycle evolution of health and human capital. Specifically, he explores the importance of genetics, family investment, and childhood interventions in explaining socioeconomic inequality. He has investigated how mothers’ empowerment and children’s human capital can be shaped by attending high-quality early childhood education, or providing psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers. In other work, he has investigated the molecular genetic architecture of risk aversion, and integrated insights from human genetics into an economic model of gene-environment interaction in the formation of health and human capital. With his work, Pietro aims to understand the mechanisms through which effective policy interventions and optimal choices of investment can help mitigate innate inequalities and promote health and human capital development.

Interests

Labor Economics, Education & Health

Selected publications

  • Baranov, Victoria, Sonia Bhalotra, Pietro Biroli, and Joanna Maselko. 2020. Maternal Depression, Women’s Empowerment, and Parental Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial. American Economic Review, 110 (3): 824–59. download

  • Genome-wide association analyses of risk tolerance and risky behaviors in over 1 million individuals identify hundreds of loci and shared genetic influences with Richard Karlsson Linnér et al. Nature Genetics 1 (2019) download

  • Evaluation of the Reggio approach to early education with Daniela del Boca, James J. Heckman et al. Research in Economics (2017), 72(1), 1–32. download

Research

Pietro Biroli’s research focuses on the early origins and life cycle evolution of health and human capital. Specifically, he explores the importance of genetics, family investment, and childhood interventions in explaining health and economic inequality. While genetic endowments are fixed at birth, they can influence decisions such as healthy behaviors or investments in human capital, and interact with features of the social and economic environment. By changing the environment, targeted interventions and optimal choices of investments can reduce the risk associated with carrying certain genetic variants.

In other recent work, Biroli has investigated the consequences of growing up in disadvantaged contexts, be it the lack of access to high-quality childcare, exposure to maternal depression, or poor stimulation within the household. He helped evaluate the returns to public investments in early childhood education by analyzing the Reggio Approach, an iconic high-quality early childhood intervention program now present in 33 countries worldwide. He found evidence of long-term sustainable effects on employment, socio-emotional skills, high school graduation, election participation, and obesity for children who received formal early childhood education. He also contributed to the long-term evaluation of one of the largest cluster-randomized control trial, which provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. He found that the intervention increased women's financial empowerment, and both time- and money-intensive parental investments.

With his work, Biroli aims to understand the mechanisms through which effective policy interventions and optimal choices of investment can help mitigate innate inequalities and promote health and human capital development.

Pietro Biroli’s research focuses on the early origins and life cycle evolution of health and human capital. Specifically, he explores the importance of genetics, family investment, and childhood interventions in explaining health and economic inequality. While genetic endowments are fixed at birth, they can influence decisions such as healthy behaviors or investments in human capital, and interact with features of the social and economic environment. By changing the environment, targeted interventions and optimal choices of investments can reduce the risk associated with carrying certain genetic variants.

In other recent work, Biroli has investigated the consequences of growing up in disadvantaged contexts, be it the lack of access to high-quality childcare, exposure to maternal depression, or poor stimulation within the household. He helped evaluate the returns to public investments in early childhood education by analyzing the Reggio Approach, an iconic high-quality early childhood intervention program now present in 33 countries worldwide. He found evidence of long-term sustainable effects on employment, socio-emotional skills, high school graduation, election participation, and obesity for children who received formal early childhood education. He also contributed to the long-term evaluation of one of the largest cluster-randomized control trial, which provided psychotherapy to perinatally depressed mothers in rural Pakistan. He found that the intervention increased women's financial empowerment, and both time- and money-intensive parental investments.

Pietro Biroli on Google Scholarbrowse

Videos

In the media

  • Corona: Falle und/oder Chance? Salto Community-Beitrag vom 16.11.2020 lesen

  • Potential for Risky Behavior Is also in Your Genes UZH Press Release of 14.1.2019 read

Quotes

With my work I aim to understand the mechanisms through which effective policy interventions and optimal choices of investment can help mitigate innate inequalities and promote health and human capital development.

Interviews and features

2015

Images

Contact

Personal

Support Staff

Name:

Annemarie Kaufmann

Office hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday till 15:00

Address

University of Zurich

Department of Economics, Schönberggasse 1, 8001 Zürich
(Google Maps)