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Landau Prize is awarded to Michela Giorcelli

Giorcelli’s research focuses on the determinants of firm productivity and innovation, by using historical natural experiments and new collected data.

Michela Giorcelli, a Ph.D. student in Stanford’s economics department, is this year’s recipient of the Landau Discussion Paper Prize.

The paper examines the effects of management-training programs and technology transfers on firm performance.

Giorcelli focused her research on a unique component of the Marshall Plan — called the U.S. Productivity Program — in which managers from European countries were invited to learn modern management skills through study trips to U.S. companies.

This program also gave European firms loans to purchase state-of-the-art machines from the United States. Using 20-year archival data on a subject where data is typically scarce, Giorcelli found that businesses participating in the Productivity Program increased sales and productivity, and remained in business longer than comparable companies that were not part of the program.

However, the trainings improved firms’ performance more than the newer machines and had longer-lasting impact. She believes the program helped managers make better investment decisions and hire better workers, which enabled firms to make their production more and more efficient over time.

The Landau Prize is awarded as a tribute to Stanford economist Ralph Landau and his wife, Claire, for the best student-written SIEPR working paper.

Giorcelli — whose research was supported by a Dissertation Fellowship from Leonard and Shirley Ely — will join the economics department at the University of California, Los Angeles, as an assistant professor this summer.

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