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Alvaro Cencini



Alvaro Cencini è professore Emerito di economia monetaria. È stato docente al Centro Studi Bancari di Lugano, dove dirige il REMLab (Laboratorio di ricerca in economia monetaria), ed è associato al Centre d’Etudes Monétaires et Financières dell’Università di Digione. Dopo il dottorato in Svizzera, ha fatto ricerca alla London School of Economics con Lord Desai, ottenendo il PhD in Economics. All’Università di Friborgo, ha poi conseguito la libera docenza con menzione in economia politica. È stato professore invitato in diverse università europee ed americane e ha pubblicato saggi e volumi presso le migliori case editrici anglosassoni nel campo della teoria monetaria e del sistema dei pagamenti internazionali. Dal 1987 al 2002 è stato membro della Commissione della Svizzera italiana del Fondo Nazionale Svizzero per la Ricerca Scientifica; dal 1996 al 2008 è stato membro della Commissione culturale cantonale, che ha presieduto dal 2000 al 2008, e dal 1999 al 2010 è stato membro del Consiglio della Magistratura.


Alvaro Cencini´s main line of research for the past 30 years has been in the field of monetary macroeconomics. From the analysis of the banking nature of money to that of the process of capital accumulation, he has contributed to Bernard Schmitt´s research programme, placing particular emphasis on a critical reappraisal of classical and neoclassical monetary analyses, as well as of Keynes´s theory.
In the five-year period he spent at the London School of Economics, A. Cencini mainly explored the relationship between time, money and production, which allowed him to reach a clearer understanding of the implications of the new quantum approach developed by Schmitt. That, in turn, led him to write his first English book: Time and the Macroeconomic Analysis of Income.
Having worked with Lord Desai at the LSE, A. Cencini went on investigating the nature of money and its relationship with income and time, trying to show that the shortcomings of traditional monetary analysis call for a new quantum theoretical approach to monetary theory. The results of this inquiry were published in a book prefaced by Desai: Money, Income and Time as well as in Cahiers de la Revue d´économie politique, in Studi economici, in Economia politica and in Quaderni di storia dell´economia politica.
In the latter part of the 1980s A. Cencini pushed his research both in the direction of quantum analysis and in that of international monetary disorders. In this period he had the opportunity to work closely with Bernard Schmitt on the problem of external debt servicing. Here, he contributed to elaborate a plan of reform of an African country´s monetary system of external debt servicing. Some initial results of this particular research were printed in External Debt Servicing: A Vicious Circle.
Another important field of application of monetary theory to which A. Cencini gave his contribution in those years was that of the European project of monetary union. The problem of capital movements and monetary sovereignty has been greatly undervalued by the partisans of the European project, and he felt important to devote large chunks of his volumes on monetary theory (Monetary Theory. National and International and Capitoli di teoria monetaria) to the defence of an alternative project elaborated by Schmitt on the basis of Keynes´s plan of reform presented at Bretton Woods in 1944.
In 1990 A. Cencini was appointed to teach at the newly founded Centre for Banking Studies. Direct contacts with the world of bankers increased his interest for the book-keeping analysis of bank money and greatly influenced the choices that led to the publication of the above-mentioned volumes on national and international monetary problems.
An economist whose main interest lies in the monetary theory of production can hardly neglect the problem of inflation and deflation. Thus, Cencini went on to analyse both anomalies in an attempt to show that they have a common source in the pathological process of capital accumulation. This specific line of research led him to publish an article on inflation in Encyclopaedia Universalis and to edit a book (with Mauro Baranzini) on Inflation and Unemployment.
In the following five years, his research focused on a critical analysis of the neoclassical approach to monetary economics, with particular attention to the general equilibrium models of monetary economics, the concept of money supply, the production functions and the quantity theory approach to monetary disorders. He also investigated the theory of capital and interest starting from the Classics, following it through from Böhm-Bawerk to Keynes, and ending up within a new framework of analysis in which banks double-entry book-keeping is made to play a central role. This project culminated in the publication of Monetary Macroeconomics. A New Approach.
In the latest years Cencini´s research program has been concerned with the activity of the Laboratory of Research in Monetary Economics, which he founded in 1999, and with the inquiry into the fundamental principles of macroeconomics, both at the national and international levels. The results have been published in The Macroeconomic Foundations of Macroeconomics, London and New York: Routledge ( 2005). From 2005 to 2022 Cencini has been working extensively on monetary macroeconomics. Among his most relevant contributions we find: Elementi di teoria monetaria (CEDAM 2015), Economic and Financial Crises. A New Macroeconomic Analysis (co-authored with S. Rossi, Palgrave Macmillan 2015), and Bernard Schmitt's Quantum Macroeconomic Analysis (Routledge 2022). At present Cencini is working on a a project that will end up with the publication of a book: National and International Payments. From Smith to Keynes and Beyond  (to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2024).

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