Tipologia di corso
Modalità di accesso
3 years
Struttura proponente

Descrizione del corso

Topics and goals

A significant part of economic analysis focuses on decision-making processes. Consumers and producers, workers and firms, banks and managers, households and policy makers continuously make decisions which are economically relevant. Economists are interested in understanding, predicting or modifying the processes underlying these decisions.

The analysis of human decisions relies on methods and models that differ significantly across various fields of economic research. For instance, classical decision theory is largely based on mathematical models, while more recent research in behavioral decision theory often relies on experimental methods. Econometric tools are used to investigate the determinants of specific decisions, such as those concerning labor, transports, or health. Computational methods are used to simulate how economic agents interact, and to investigate the economic effects of their interactions.

The PhD program in Methods and Models for Economic Decisions trains young researchers to master the variety of theoretical and applied approaches that are used in economics for analyzing decision-making processes. In the first year of the program, students attend compulsory courses to acquire a broad set of research skills in theoretical and data analysis, that allow them to tackle the complex phenomena related to decision making. During the second and third year of the program, students focus on their own research under the supervision of one or more faculty members and participate in seminars and reading groups in their field of interest.

The program strongly encourages students to spend part of their PhD period abroad and supports them in gaining international experience. The central goal of the program is to create independent researchers, who can then pursue an academic career in leading universities or obtain research positions in private firms or international organizations.

The courses are taught in English, and the program lasts three years. At the end of the third-year students submit their PhD dissertation, which is usually made of three research papers.

The PhD program is hosted by the Department of Economics of the University of Insubria, which has been granted the “Departments of Excellence” award and funding plan for the period 2023 – 2027 by the ANVUR (Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes), ranking 8th among the Italian departments of economics and statistics.

For more information, visit the PhD's Website.

Aree scientifiche: 13-Scienze economiche e statistiche
Settori scientifico-disciplinari: SECS-P01, SECS-P02, SECS-P03, SECS-P04, SECS-P05, SECS-P06, SECS-P07, SECS-P08, SECS-P12, SECS-S03, SECS-S06
Coordinatore: Vezzulli Andrea
Anno Accademico: 2023/2024
Ciclo: XXXIX ciclo

Cosa ti occorre sapere

Master Degree (second or single cycle, national or foreign title).

Assessment criteria for admission

  • graduation final mark (up to 15 points; for graduands the final mark will be estimated with the arithmetic average mark of their exams);
  • scientific significance, degree of originality and relevance of the research project and thesis (up to 15 points; the applicant must submit a detailed abstract of the thesis or its full version);
  • publications and conference presentations on topics relevant for the PhD program (up to 5 points);
  • training activities and professional experience relevant for the PhD (up to 5 points);
  • any other assessable qualification, including language certifications, and up to 3 recommendation letters (up to 20 points).


Only applicants awarded with a minimum of 40 points on the qualification assessment are admitted to the interview.

Applicants are interviewed on their scientific interests and their motivations for applying to this specific PhD program. The interview can be evaluated up to a maximum of 60 points and is considered as passed only if the applicant obtains at least 40 points. The interview, which is public, tests the basic knowledge of economics and quantitative topics, as well as the knowledge of English, and could involve a discussion of possible research lines related to the PhD. Applicants can have the interview in English or Italian.


  • Positions: 6
    • with Scholarships: 6
    • without scholarship: 0

You can enroll after a selection process based on qualifications and an oral examination (see section on Admission requirements). 

Applications can be submitted by Italian and non-Italian citizens who have completed or are completing their graduate studies.


In the first year, students attend the program’s courses at the Department of Economics of Insubria University, which is located in Varese. These courses are not the standard first-year courses in quantitative methods, microeconomics, macroeconomics, but cover the specific and more advanced topics in decision theory addressed by the doctoral program

Courses focus on three main areas of research: (i) the economic theory of decision making, in the mainstream as well as behavioral version; (ii) econometric techniques to analyze economic decisions observed either in the laboratory or in the field; (iii) the study of economic indicators of risk and inequality associated with the outcome of collective choices. Additional courses related to the program’s topic are taught by external professors visiting the Economics Department

During the first year, students also identify a research area for their dissertation and the members of the PhD board who will serve as their supervisors, eventually pinning down the topic of their first research paper.

The second and third years are entirely dedicated to research. Students work on their research papers and are expected to attend seminars and other training events held at the Department of Economics. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to spend part of the second and third years in foreign universities and research institutions to gain international experience. They can choose among universities having specific exchange programs with Insubria University, such as the University of Jena and the University of Bordeaux, as well as among other leading institutions in their field of research.

Over the last few years, students in their second or third year have spent research periods in the following institutions: Duke University (USA), Stony Brook University, New York (USA), University of Nottingham (UK), University of Kent (UK), University of Jena (Germany), University of Bordeaux (France), University of Lille (France), University Jaume I, Castellón (Spain), University of Granada (Spain), Technical University of Ostrava (Czech Republic).

From the second year onwards, students are also encouraged to present their research papers at internal seminars and international conferences, and then submit them to international journals.

For more information, see the PhD's Website.

Please check this page (in Italian):


Servizi per gli studenti


Dipartimento di Economia – DiECO

Università degli Studi dell'Insubria

Via Monte Generoso 71 - 21100 Varese – Italy

Coordinator: Prof. Andrea Vezzulli

[email protected]