05 Nov 2021

New Faculty Profiles: Michela Giorcelli


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to managers. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Michela Giorcelli, visiting assistant professor, Strategy

What is your educational background?
I received a PhD in economics from Stanford University in 2016. Before that, I did my undergraduate studies in Italy, at the Università di Torino and at Collegio Carlo Alberto. I have been an assistant professor in the UCLA economics department since 2016.

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
I am an economic historian whose work focuses primarily on the development and diffusion of management and technology innovations and their impact on firm productivity. My research also addresses a key question in economic history: To what extent did the war effort during World War II spur new managerial techniques and production technologies, and how did these innovations persist and diffuse to the rest of the world in the war’s aftermath? I identify the causes and the effects of adoption and diffusion of new technologies on firm productivity by exploiting a wealth of historical policy variation and unique historical data, which I collect from primary sources.

I have always been interested in history, since elementary school. When I took Ran Abramitzky’s class in European economy history at Stanford, I realized I could combine my interest for history with rigorous economic analysis. I’ve also realized that taking a historical approach helps in answering important questions in economics, by exploiting variations in policy delivery and taking a long-run approach.

What will you be teaching here?
I will be teaching Strategy in the Required Curriculum in spring 2022.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
My work would definitely be related to history. In a different life, I would see myself as an archeologist.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Torino, Italy, the world capital of chocolate!

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I love traveling and getting to know new places. I also enjoy hiking and trying new cuisines.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite book is Il Gattopardo by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. My favorite piece of art is Il Cristo Velato by Giuseppe Sanmartino, in the Chapel of San Severo, Naples, Italy.

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