Andrea Garnero (Grad Year ’10) – Prime Minister Office – Italy

Andrea Garnero

1. Where do you come from? Could you tell us about your education and, in particular, about the track in which you were at the Paris School of Economics?

I come from Italy and I did my Bachelor in economics and political science at the University of Bologna and the Collegio Superiore. In 2007 I went to Paris for Erasmus at Paris X Nanterre. I then passed the “selection internationale” at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and I was in the first cohort of PPD students in 2008-2010.

2. Since your graduation at PSE, what kind of job have you had? According to you, what is the main value added that your education at PSE gave you?

In the summer between the first and the second year of the master I did an internship at the Employment division of the OECD. After graduating at PSE I moved to Brussels where I worked one year at the European Commission, in the directorate general for employment and social affairs. I was in the unit for employment analysis and I worked on the annual report and the monthly and quarterly labour market monitoring. In 2011 I began my PhD in labour economics at Paris School of Economics and Université Libre de Bruxelles. My research focuses on labour market institutions and productivity. Since last June I moved to Rome to work in the cabinet of the Italian Prime Minister as an assistant for economic affairs and G20. PSE gave me a solid knowledge in economics not only strengthening considerably my technical tools but also providing me with first hand experiences in policy-making and policy evaluation in the “real life”. This proved to be fundamental in my career where I indeed mix technical tools with policy-making.

3. In your current position, what are the day-to-day challenges that your are facing?

In my current position, I assist the Prime Minister and senior advisors on international economic affairs and I am assistant Sherpa for the G20. This job requires first of all a great degree of flexibility: working for the Prime Minister involves very different tasks which go from analysis to law making, from speech-writing to organization, from reflection to public relations. The second challenge is managing the information and sources: selecting news, analyses and sources is possibly the most important part of my job. I cannot go in depth on all the topics I cross in my job since time is very limited. Therefore I need reliable and up-to-date sources amid a great amount of noise. The third challenge is that economists have two hands but politicians like only one (US President Truman once said he wanted an economist who was one-handed because his economic advisors would typically give him economic advice stating, “On the one hand… and on the other…”).  And what is more, most often decisions have to be taken under imperfect and incomplete information: policy-making cannot always (but it should as much as possible) wait for sound evaluations. Or in other cases (I think notably to macroeconomic policies) proper evaluations are not easy, not to say impossible. Therefore, taking decisions under incomplete and imperfect information requires experience, vision and nerve. That’s why I believe technocracy will never be able to replace politics.