Marco Di Cataldo

Marco Di Cataldo

PhD candidate in Economic Geography

Department of Geography and Environment

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About me

Marco holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Development Economics (both cum laude) from the University of Bologna, Italy. He obtained an MSc in Local Economic Development (with Distinction) at the LSE and has completed the PhD in Economic Geography (awarded without corrections) in January 2018. He is now an ERC Post-Doctoral Researcher based at the LSE Department of Geography and Environment.

He teaches at undergraduate and master level at the LSE. Marco’s research has been published in several leading journals in the field of Regional Science and Economic Geography.

Research interests 

EU Cohesion Policy
Public Economics
Political Economy
Local and regional development
Economics of organised crime

Thesis title and short abstract

Regional and local development in Europe: Public policies, investment strategies, institutions


The development strategies being promoted in the EU adopt a policy approach tailoring interventions to the key specificities of all territories, including the most disadvantaged. This framework assigns a key role to the quality of government institutions responsible for defining policy targets and enforcing investment plans. However, the idea of promoting spatially-targeted interventions in economically backward areas is yet to be convincingly proven, and empirical evidence analysing the mechanisms through which institutions influence the design and outcomes of public policies is scarce. This Thesis contributes to shed light on these related issues.

The first paper demonstrates that EU regional policies have had a beneficial impact for UK peripheral regions. The study warns over possible negative repercussions of a discontinuation of EU financial support, a result of relevance for the UK after ‘Brexit’. The second and third papers analyse the role of government institutions for the returns of investments and for labour market and social conditions in European regions. They show that improvements in transport infrastructure are conducive to a better economic performance only in presence of sound local governments, and that good government institutions are essential to mitigate social exclusion issues in the EU. The fourth paper examines how public finances are distorted by ‘governments captures’ operated by organised crime, demonstrating that collusions between mafia and local politics impact on the selection of investments and on the collection of fiscal revenues.

Overall, the evidence emerging from the Thesis suggests that policy interventions have the potential to boost the economic and labour market performance of the less developed EU regions. However, any favourable outcome is conditioned by the competence and the goodwill of government institutions. When investment decisions follow special interests rather than general welfare goals, interventions have limited or no economic impact.

Read Marco's Thesis.



GY140 (Lecturer): 2016-2017; 2017-2018
GY460 (Teaching assistant): 2014-2015; 2015-2016; 2016-2017
GY140 (Teaching assistant): 2015-2016
GIS workshop (Teaching assistant): 2014-2015; 2015-2016

Academic supervisors

Riccardo Crescenzi
Andres Rodriguez-Pose

View Marco's CV.

My research 

Internationalized at work and localistic at home: The ‘split’ Europeanization behind Brexit, forthcoming. Authors: M. Di Cataldo, R. Crescenzi, A. Faggian