Local Opportunities Lab

A research hub that collects geographically granular data and connects researchers interested in the topic of local economies.


The aim of the Lab is to produce data-driven reports and analyses focused on policy-relevant issues, describing how specific phenomena affect local economies and providing evidence-based policy suggestions.


The first Italian hub for scientific research on local economies

The mission of the Local Opportunities Lab is to promote efficiency and equity in the implementation of economic policies. Efficiency means long-term growth and sustainability. Equity means equality of opportunity for citizens of different birthplaces and generations.

The Lab respects the deontology of scientific research and focuses on the fields of economic geography, labor economics, education, public finance, and industrial organization.

The values we believe in and that characterize our work are those of consistency, responsibility, and respect for the scientific method, for individuals and their freedoms, and for equality of opportunity.

The 4 pillars of the Lab

  • Pillar I

    An international network of researchers and institutions focused on studying socio-economic issues using geographically granular data.
  • Pillar II

    A standardized dataset that collects, cleans, and harmonizes a large set of variables at the municipal or sub-municipal unit of observation.
  • Pillar III

    A tool for to produce and disseminate scientific content.
  • Pillar IV

    Collaboration with universities, research centers, institutions, and other organizations to foster data access and the production of relevant content.

Our Story

The Local Opportunities Lab started with the intention of building a large dataset that collects, cleans, and harmonizes data available at geographically granular levels from different sources. The Lab soon evolved into a hub that connects a group of researchers, the scientific committee, research collaborators that helped the project grow, and stakeholders who support the activities of the Lab.


The Lab is financially supported by the Algebris Policy & Research Forum, a not-for-profit advisory forum on European economic policy issues, and collaborates with Tortuga Econ, a non-profit association and think-tank of students, researchers and young professionals working in the fields of economics and social sciences.

Associate researchers

Francesco Filippucci

PhD candidate Paris School of Economics

Jacopo Bassetto

PhD candidate Università di Trento,
Institut für Arbeitsmarkt – und Berufsforschung (IAB)

Andrea Cerrato

PhD student University of California, Berkeley

Scientific Committee

Giuseppe Berta

Bocconi University

Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Collegio Carlo Alberto
Università di Torino

Silvia Merler

Algebris Policy & Research Forum

Enrico Moretti

University of California, Berkeley

Gianluca Violante

Princeton University


The Lab is helping tackle the coronavirus emergency. We use our granular data on income tax returns, the healthcare system, employment, pollution, and social capital to predict the characteristics associated with higher levels of infection and identify the geographical areas most at risk.


From Lapdogs to Watchdogs: the value of independence in auditing

Local governments worldwide are charged with making spending decisions and delivering public goods and services, in part because local officials are seen as more informed and responsive to local citizens’ needs.

Local Taxation and Transfers of Tax Residence

In September 2019, the last US president Donald Trump hit the headlines with his decision to file residency paperwork for moving from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Florida (see New York Times article). Why did he leave his lifelong home, the place where he built the Trump Tower?

Local Opportunities Lab

  • Milan
  • Turin
  • Rome
  • Paris
  • Nuremberg
  • Berkeley

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