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The Department of Economics, Business and Statistics offers a research-oriented Phd programme whose aim is to endow students with relevant skills and knowledge both in theoretical and empirical aspects of Economics and Statistics. We put great effort to produce top-quality researchers, who will gain international experience working within the research units of our department.

Students are trained for positions in academia as well as for responsible positions in government, research organizations, and business enterprises. Students will be encouraged to participate in the life of the department, present their research work in junior seminars and international conferences and to participate in specialized summer schools. Each student will be assisted by a faculty advisor who will share state of the art insights to bring students to the research frontier, provide them with quantitative and analytical tools to analyze relevant scientific questions, and supervise student’s engagement in full-time research towards the completion of a doctoral dissertation.


Background and research project

Admission will be based on the evaluation of the CV and the research proposal of the candidate. Eligible candidates hold excellent score levels in previous master studies (the Italian Laurea Magistrale or equivalent foreign degree which will be assessed by the selection committee), post-degree experiences with specific emphasis on scientific research in economics and/or statistics (for example, internships in economic or financial institutions, statistical data analysis, etc.), prizes, awards and other credentials.
Applications by students with a background other than economics or statistics, such as political sciences, social sciences, mathematics, engineering, physics etc, are strongly encouraged.
The research project will play a relevant role in the final admission decision. The project can be written in Italian or English. The research project has to contain the main objectives of the research to be carried out. The objectives must be clearly specified and address one or more open scientific questions. The objective must be relevant and it has to refer to the state-of-the-art of the literature in the chosen field and published in leading academic journal. Finally, the research project has to be coherent with the main research interest of the department, as synthetically described in the research areas.
The research potential of the candidate will be assessed through an interview (online interviews are also possible). Non-English candidates have to give their interview in English. Italian candidates have to show their English fluency. Although language certifications are not required, they will be considered by the admission committee.

Expression of interest

A PhD is about learning new skills, how to do research, and becoming an independent researcher. We recognise that students will come to us from different backgrounds in order to learn these new skills and we welcome interest from domestic and international students.
Before applying for a PhD with our department, you should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
Basically, you should review our research areas, and individual researchers and their expertise or ongoing research. This will provide you with an understanding of the research undertaken at our department, and give you an indication of the possible areas of research study. This will also assist you in writing a research proposal for your EOI submission.
Interested candidates are invited to submit an EOI to, enclosing:

  • a Curriculum Vitae (mentioning if a Master degree is expected before October);

  • a one-page research statement, falling within one of the research fields listed below;

  • any other documents (such as research papers, Master dissertation, GRE, TOEFL) that may help to assess the candidate’s qualifications.

It is best to enquire well ahead (at least two months) before the open date of formal application (usually June). Note that, the EOI is not the formal application. Candidates must send a formal application after the official call opens.
The formal application has to be sent in due time with all documents indicated in the official call (including the CV) and represents the only way for being considered by the admission committee.
For more information on the formal admission procedure please click  here.


Usually, up to six students are admitted to the program each year. One position is reserved for non-Italian students (students who graduated abroad). The salary is approximately 12.300 euro per year (net of taxes) . The duration of each scholarship is 3 years, subject to performance. The monthly allowance can be increased up to 50% for students visiting a research institution or University abroad. Starting in the second year, there are also allowances for short-period mobility.

Research Areas

An illustrative, but not exhaustive, list of research fields include:

  • Mathematical and Quantitative Methods: Optimization techniques, Programming models, Computational techniques, Simulation modeling, Quantitative policy modeling, Big data analytics, Network analysis, Large scale optimization, Quantitative finance, Option pricing, Insurance models, Contingent debt instruments, Debt sustainability analysis.

  • Financial Economics: Asset Pricing, Banking and Financial Services, Behavioural Finance, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Credit management, Financial Accounting, Financial Econometrics, Risk Assessment, Finance and Risk Management.

  • Economics: Macroeconomic Policy, Monetary Policy, Fiscal policy, Forecasting and business cycles analysis, Institutional and Development Economics, International Economics, Auction Theory, Behavioral Economics, Decision Theory, Game Theory, Industrial Organization.

  • Applied economics: Health Economics, Industrial Economics, Pensions and Insurance, Public Economics and Regulation, Regional Economics.

  • Statistics: Biostatistics, Medical Statistics, Demography, Data Science, Computational Statistics, Statistical Methods, Quantitative Methods in Regional Science, Spatial Economic Data Analysis, Productivity Analysis, Business Analytics, Policy Evaluation Analysis, Tourism Data Analysis, Empirical Economic Analysis.

Program requirements

PhD students will be admitted to discuss their thesis upon completion of 180 ECTS (60 ECTS per year). At the beginning of each academic year, students must present a plan of courses and activities they will undertake. The study plan, which must be discussed with the faculty advisor and undersigned by her, will be presented to the faculty members and in case approved. The activities that the student can undertake and the relative ECTS are reported in Table A.
The 180 ECTS are subdivide according to the following criteria:

  • from 24 to 36 ECTS, courses whose completion is assessed by a formal exam;

  • from 6 to 14 ECTS, seminars and workshops whose completions is not assessed by a forma exam;

  • from 0 to 15 ECTS, teaching activities, such as seminars and thesis tutoring for master students, general tutoring and exams.
    In any case, the teaching activities cannot exceeds 40 hours per year;

  • from 115 to 150 ECTS, autonomous research activities aimed at the completion of the final dissertation. 

The eligibility of the courses and seminars undertaken by the student must be assessed by the faculty advisor, and they are broadly classified as follows:

  • a) courses offered in the Master studies offered by the University of Palermo;

  • b) courses organized by the PhD in Economics and Statistics and announced;

  • c) each year courses organized by the University of Palermo and aimed to PhD students to improve their competences in managing research projects, obtaining financial support from research institutions, copyright and licensing;

  • d) courses organized by national and international institutions, summer schools, conferences and workshops;

  • e) courses aimed at providing a foreign language (usually English) certification;

  • f) courses aimed at providing software usage certification (Matlab, R, Eviews, SAS, etc).


The conversion to ECTS of the courses is based on the number of hours and it is displayed in Table A.


Master courses – item a) 8 hours 1
PhD courses – item b), c) and d) 4 hours 1
Foreign language courses – item e) 8 hours 1
Software usage course – item f) 8 hours 1
Seminars + Short essay -  Up to 1
Summer schools

1 day

Seminars given by the PhD student 2 hours 1


PhD Student



Research area

Research interest

Alessandro Albano Italy XXXV Statistics Social statistics, Ranking data
Salvatore Battaglia Italy XXXV Statistics Multistate models
Nicoletta D'Angelo Italy XXXV Statistics Statistical Methods, Spatio-temporal point processes
Andrea Priulla Italy XXXV Statistics Biostatistics, Social statistics
Moslem Rashidi Iran XXXV Econometrics Applied econometrics, microeconometrics
Valeria Resuttana Italy XXXV Applied Economics Health economics, Economics of innovation
Andrea Simonetti Italy XXXV Mathematical and quantitative methods Big data analytics, Network analysis
Furio Urso Italy XXXV Statistics Business analytics, Graphical models
Rodolfo Damiano Italy XXXIV Financial Economics Financial accounting, Corporate governance
Chiara Di Maria Italy XXXIV  Statistics Statistical methods, Biostatistics
Vincenzo Giuseppe Genova Italy XXXIV Statistics Biostatistics, Social Statistics
Alessandro Muratore Italy XXXIV Mathematical and Quantitative Methods Quantitative Finance, Statistical Methods
Caterina Sciortino Italy XXXIV Economics Economic and Tourist Data Analysis, Behavioral Economics

Giorgio Bertolazzi

Italy  XXXIII  Mathematical and Quantitative Methods   Big data analytics, Network analysis

Federica Biondo

Italy  XXXIII  Statistics Statistical Method, Empirical Economic Analysis 

Salvatore Constantino

Italy  XXXIII  Statistics  Tourism Data Analysis, Spatial Economic Data Analysis

Jelena Mazaj

Lithuania  XXXIII  Applied Economics  Public Economics, Regulation and management 

Nestor Firmin Ntiga Bissene

Camerun XXXIII

Applied Economics

Regional economics, Public Economics and Regulation 

Cinzia Pinello

Italy XXXIII  Business Management Marketing, Brand strategy 

Salvatore Polizzi


Financial Economics

Banking and Financial Services, Financial Accounting
Martina Aronica Italy XXXII Statistics Methods in Regional Science, Spatial Economic Data Analysis
Simona Buscemi Italy XXXII Statistics Ranking data, Ensemble methods
Simona Diliberto Italy XXXII Quantitative Methods for Social Science Big Data analytics, Network analysis
Hong Quan Do Vietnam XXXII Microeconomics  Behavioral Economics, Industrial Organization
Rosario Guaia Italy XXXII  Microeconomics Decision Theory, Industrial Organization 
Pietro Vassallo Italy XXXII Mathematical and Quantitative Methods Big Data analytics, Network Analysis