MariaOlivella Rizza

Assistant Professor of ECONOMIA POLITICA [SECS-P/01]

12 12 1968 – CATANIA



Degree in Political Science, University of Catania (1994).
Diploma of the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Bologna Center (1995).
Ph.D in Public Sector Economics, University of Salerno; doctoral dissertation on “Rules, Discretionality and Central Bank Independence: Some Implications for Democracy” (2002).

Positions held
Current: Tenured Researcher in Economics, Department of Political and Social Sciences.
Researcher at the University of Cassino (Department of Economic Sciences) until March 2005.
Lecturer of Microeconomics at the Faculty of Law in Cassino, of Political Economy at the Faculty of Literature in Cassino, of International Monetary Economics at the Faculty of Economics of the Second University of Naples.
Temporary chairs in Economics at the University of Palermo, Cassino, Second University of Naples, University Federico II of Naples (1999-2004).

Since the beginning of my career, interdisciplinarity has been a feature of my research interest and I constantly maintained both a political and a social bent in my economic studies. Currently, my research activity focuses on two fields. One stream of my research is related to inequalities and sustainability in development process. I am part of the Italian unit of the Horizon research project BioTraces ( ), a research action project aimed at developing knowledge for societies and markets in harmony with nature. Public policies, local and corporate strategies will be explored to co-build inclusive and just practices. Together with anthropologists, economic geographers, linguists I studied ecofrictions emerging in late industrialization process in the area around Siracusa, where the largest petrochemical plant in Europe was settled in the 1950’s ( ). My case study focused on the nature reserve of Penisola della Maddalena, on the coast South of Siracusa where I followed the institutional evolution related to the project of construction of a 5star resort, located on the coast declared SIC from 2000. Following Harvey 2004, 2010, I read the attempt of private real estate investment as accumulation of rights (to landscape and access to the coastal sea) by dispossession process, covered under a surreptitious rhetoric of global investment for local economic growth.

My second field of interest is social entrepreneurship and social innovation forms affecting market, state and society in the post-industrial era. I participated in two interdisciplinary EU funded projects EFESEIIS, “Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for Innovative and Inclusive Society” ( ) and the Marie Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Project FAB MOVE “For a Better Tomorrow: Social Entrepreneurship on the Move” ( ) . I studied a social capital building experience in Siracusa, Sicily, Italy where a social innovation hub was opened in 2011; I aimed at theorizing possible exit strategies to escape from underdevelopment traps. I then studied Libera Terra, a consortium in Sicily which fights poverty and the lack of opportunities and civil rules artificially maintained by Mafiosi. I read the use of market mechanism in the fight against Mafia as a heritage of the Italian civil economy tradition. My current research is located in San Berillo, Catania, a neighborhood where territorial regeneration is operated through a community enterprise. This research field allows me to dialogue with sociologists, anthropologists, business scholars and philosophers.

In the past, on the political side I explored central bank independence (CBI), and
considered the evolution of the relations between the Bank of Italy and the Italian government.I examined the consequence of the European integration process for the independence of the Italian central bank, and suggested a political interpretation, today broadly agreed on, of the reasons that moved the Bank of Italy to embrace the European integration process (with Carlo Panico, University Federico II of Naples). I deepened the theoretical foundation of central bank independence and examined its implication for democracy, showing that the apparent contradiction between the two only emerges in the economists' setting of the problem of independence, not in the practice of central banking, nor in political science theories. Together with Sergio Destefanis (University of Salerno) I proposed an interpretation of CBI as a third causal factor of low inflation. We found significative evidence that countries in which societies do not allow political interference on the decisions of key consequence on distribution of wealth and income, show the higher level of CBI.
On social sciences field, in the past, I worked on development theories. I studied Gunnar Myrdal’s heterodox view on development processes, based on the idea of cumulative causation. I also explored some unnoticed implications of Myrdal's criticism to the theory of utility in his early writings.

N.B. the number of publications can affect the loading time of the information

Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016