Macerata, 2 May 1947 – Rome, 10 October 2021

On 10 October 2021, Prof. Giovanni Maria Giorgi passed away.

He was the President of the Italian Society of Economics, Demography and Statistics (Società Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica – SIEDS) from 2008 to 2014 and again since 2015, as an honorary president.

Professor Giorgi originated from the Marche region, something which he was very proud of, he was born in Macerata on 2 May 1947. He then studied in Rome at the Faculty of Statistics, Demographic and Actuarial Sciences at the end of the 1960s. He later moved to Siena where he began his university career, first as an assistant and then as an associate professor. In 1994, he returned to Rome, as a full professor of Statistics, at the “La Sapienza” University of Rome, where, until 2015, he held the Multivariate Statistics and Complex Sample Design course. He had been a member of the Academic Board of the Doctorate in Methodological Statistics and, furthermore, he became – from 2003 to 2006 and from 2013 to 2017 – Editor in Chief of Metron (founded by Corrado Gini in 1920).

He has a deep bond with SIEDS. His presidency coincided with a period of great difficulty that affected Italian universities and research in general, as well as having an impact on SIEDS. However, with his commitment, stubbornness (the “tigna” as he used to say) and the spirit with which he always characterized his actions, he was able to firmly guide the Society during these difficult years, laying the foundations for its success. During his presidency, Professor Giorgi dedicated particular efforts to the progress of the Italian Journal of Economic, Demographic and Statistical Studies (Rivista Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica – RIEDS), the official body of the SIEDS, aware of the importance of scientific production and dissemination at an international level. Even after the end of his presidency, he never left out his presence, his valuable contribution of knowledge, experience and support, not only to the board of directors, but also to the editorial board of the Journal and during the yearly scientific meetings of the Society. Professor Giorgi also represented an important bridge between the history of our Society (founded in 1937) and the Italian school of statistics of which he had a deep knowledge due to his studies and the numerous anecdotes collected during his friendship with Carlo Benedetti (1921-2015), pupil of Carlo Emilio Bonferroni and collaborator of Corrado Gini.

In our Society, he brought about his esteemed competence, his scientific rigour, as well as his work ethic. He was unanimously recognized as one of the most important worldwide experts on inequality measures and in particular on the Gini concentration index. The large number of scientific articles and contributions published in national and international journals, handbooks and encyclopaedias, written by him are proof of this. The last invited speech held by Professor Giorgi during the LVI SIEDS Scientific Meeting in Ascoli Piceno in 2019, entitled “The Gini concentration ratio: back to the future”, provides an exhaustive and complete picture of the origin, current development and future perspective of the famous concentration index. In the SIEDS Scientific Meetings held under his presidency, special consideration was devoted to the relevant issues related to welfare. We would like to highlight, in particular, the session on “Poverty, inequality, well-being: methodological, historical and evolutionary aspects” during the XLVIII Scientific Meeting in 2011 in Rome, for which he personally laid down a lot and involved eminent speakers, both national and international.

The news of his death came as a great surprise, to us all. Up until his last day he continued to be interested in “his things” and to carry out his numerous scientific projects. His passion for research and the warmth of his family filled his life and allowed him to overcome his health issues which had affected him in the last years.

Our thoughts and affection are with his wife, Liliana, who also accompanied him to the last Scientific Meetings of the SIEDS and to his two daughters, Giulia and Grazia, who were close to him until the end.

With him, SIEDS loses an important reference point, a prominent scholar but, furthermore, a strong, constant, discreet and polite presence, a guide, an authoritative and never trivial voice, an honest, clever, sarcastic and self-ironic person, an example for those who approach the world of research, but for us, more profoundly, a friend with whom we shared a part of our life, not just professionally.

Certainly, his absence will be felt, especially, in times of trouble and impasse moments, in which with his sarcasm he was able to face every problem and with his wisdom find the solution. His example and his teachings will forever help us.

Goodbye, dear Giovanni.

SIEDS Executive Committee