I hold the Carlo Alberto Chair in social and political science at Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, Italy. I am a Fellow of the British Academy since 2000, Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, and Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.

In my career I have been motivated to investigate challenging empirical questions – why has the Italian South been struggling to develop, what has kept the Sicilian mafia in business for so long, how can criminals trust each other, what do taxi drivers in dangerous cities look at before deciding whether they can trust a passenger, what does make people go on a suicide mission, why we find a disproportionate number of engineers among violent Islamists, do religious appurtenances, such as the Islamic veil, signal more than faith…? I believe that game theory, especially signalling theory, is a most powerful and deep theoretical tool at our disposal to explain a wide range of social behaviours; but I am attentive to other social mechanisms provided they help me make sense of my questions. As all scientists I prefer methods that reach the causes of a phenomenon, but the nerdish frenzy of data driven causality pursuit should not lead us to downgrade theoretical thinking or elude puzzling questions simply because we are not yet able to research them empirically. Also, to test hypotheses properly you need data, but to know what games people are playing ethnography is often essential.