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LUISS Guido Carli


Rethinking Economics in Italy

Nicolò Fraccaroli is a recent LUISS graduate working to reform economics education in universities


It’s a project that was started in England and then transplanted to Italy: it’s called Rethinking Economics and it was brought here by Nicolò Fraccaroli, a recent LUISS graduate in Political Science with a passion for economics. "Our goal,” he says, “is to reform how we teach economic material in universities, making it more open to various theoretical and methodological approaches."

Nicolò got the idea during his Macroeconomics course at LUISS: "I understood that the economics we were being taught were not the absolute truth. When Professor Messori presented concepts to us, he explained that there were other ways to look at it and other responses."

So Nicolò decided to explore these parallel worlds himself. He discovered a series of texts on economic theory and realized there were already movements in the United Kingdom that had the same objective: "I decided with some fellow students in Political Science to create the Italian Post-Crash Economics Society. My project was noticed by other students of Rethinking Economics who contacted me, and we decided to create an international network. From that moment on the Italian project changed its name to Rethinking Economics Italy".

At LUISS, Nicolò found fertile ground, given the interdisciplinary approach offered by many departments and courses: "Of the ten founders of the Italian group, seven of us are from LUISS."

The next objective is that of creating the "Rethinking Economics LUISS" association. The students have found strong support at the University from the provost, Massimo Egidi and professors such as Fitoussi, Messori and Maffettone.

Even if in Italy these students still struggle against the mistrust of national newspapers, abroad they are already being talked about. Every year, the Rethinking Economics groups meet in London, organize conferences, and are considered by many to be "a new '68." Nicolò was also interviewed by the Financial Times, though what he is most proud of is "being able to count Thomas Piketty, Jean Paul Fitoussi, James Galbraith, Ha-Joon Change and many other internationally renowned economists among the manifesto’s supporters."

What remains to be overcome is the average discomfort with economics, "because it seems like we’re talking about really complicated things, but they’re really not as difficult as they seem.”

The program PIIGS can Fly on RadioLUISS has helped the group become better known through interviews with professors of economics, among other things.

Nicolò is preparing to leave for London, where he will do a one-year master in the Political Economy of Europe at the London School of Economics but, even from England, he will continue to work towards the primary objective of the Rethinking Economics network: "It would be nice to see a university course designed by the students themselves. It would be a major change."