Labour Markets, Poverty, and Development

By Giorgio Barba Navaretti; Riccardo Faini et al. | Go to book overview

REMEMBERING LUCA

Luca d'Agliano was one of the first students I taught at Cambridge. The memory of him--tall, dark, and handsome in a red jersey--is still vivid.

He came to economics in his second undergraduate year from a background in philosophy. I was privileged to supervise the beginning of an enormously promising career in economics, cut short so tragically three years later. I quote from the reference I wrote in support of his application for a post-graduate place at Oxford.

Luca is fascinated by economic theory, and is also deeply interested in development economics. He works enormously hard, producing essays which are generally well organised and clearly expressed, always reflecting wide reading and considerable thought. He is a rewarding student to teach and is thoughtful and articulate in discussion.

He is likely to be at his best in writing a thesis, where his interest, self-discipline, questioning mind and ability to write will stand him in good stead.

This perhaps conveys something of his academic abilities, although, with the benefit of much more experience of students, I now think that my reference failed to do him justice. As an economist, I would love to have seen that thesis.

However, my clearest memories are of his personality. He was in ways a deeply serious person, both intellectually and morally. He always wanted to probe and to understand. He was outraged by, and deeply concerned for, the poverty and suffering in developing countries. This was the centre and driving force of his life's work. This seriousness and commitment emerged in discussions with him about where he should go after Cambridge. I encouraged him to go to Oxford to work with Amartya Sen.

Luca's great love for his family, his fiancée, and his friends was also clear. The setting up of the Luca d'Agliano Centre in Turin, the scholarships, and activities such as this volume are a testament both to Luca's abilities and to the love that he gave and received.

Luca was serious, but he was certainly not dour. He enjoyed life greatly and was great fun to be with. At his memorial service in Oxford, very shortly after his death, people were telling joyful tales of an escapade with a chicken at school. There was laughter as well as tears. By the end of his time in Cambridge, I was waddling around in an uncomfortable state of advanced pregnancy, and supervising Luca cheered me up. He lifted up his eyes to the hills. The hills for him were the Alps in Piedmont, which rise dramatically from the plain very near to his family home. These hills are sometimes shrouded in clouds and

-vii-

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