UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Luca J. Uberti

Dr Luca J. Uberti

Alexander Nash Fellowship



Joined UCL
1st Sep 2018

Research summary

I am a political economist with an interest in the complex interplay between political institutions and economic performance: which institutions promote economic growth and how structural conditions limit the range of feasible institutions. Geographically, my work is focused on the so-called "European super-periphery", specifically on Albania and Kosovo. I am particularly interested in dynamics of economic and political change in low-middle income post-socialist economies, where the problem of "transition" is closely linked with the problem of "development". 

One strand of my research looks at the role of informal institutions (including corruption), rents and industrial policy in driving comparative economic growth, both at the micro and macro level. In Albania and Kosovo, I have done extensive fieldwork research in the mining, garment and wine industries and I have provided policy advice to USAID and to Kosovo's Ministry of Trade and Industry. I am also interested in the developmental role of regional-bilateral trade agreements in the Balkan region and I am an Associate Member of the LSEE-CEFTA research network at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

A parallel strand of my work investigates the origins and drivers of institutions and cultural norms. In a recent paper, for instance, I estimated empirically the relative influence of short- and long-run determinants of corruption in transition economies, focusing specifically on Ottoman and socialist legacies. In other papers, I have studied "non-conventional" political business cycles driven by corruption, and the role of aid agencies in fighting electoral malpractice in developing and transition countries. 

In future work, I intend to examine empirically whether industrialisation promotes inter-ethnic trust in the Western Balkans, and the long-run economic effects of the Holocaust in the former Yugoslavia.

Teaching summary

SEES0083 Quantitative Methods (MA)

SEES0095 Advanced Quantitative Methods (MA)

Office Hours: Wednesday 3-4 pm, Tutor Room 336


I joined the Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies at SSEES as Alexander Nash Fellow in Albanian Studies in September 2018, after a one-year post-doc at the University of Oslo (Norway). I have a BSc and MSc degree from King's College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science, respectively, and I completed my PhD at the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 2017. At SSEES, I also coordinate the South-East European Studies seminar series. I have lived in Albania and Kosovo for a total of five years and I am fluent in the Albanian language.