In memory of Riccardo, by Guy Davidov

Guy Davidov 

Elias Lieberman Chair in Labour Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

I first met Riccardo at the ISLSSL conference in Sydney on 2009. He gave a keynote lecture on the economic analysis of labour law, and I remember being struck by the brilliance of it. The structure was very clear and logical, the delivery was engaging. The arguments were original and thoughtful, and at the same time showed a very deep familiarity with all the relevant literature from law as well as economics, including the most recent developments. Riccardo was critical of the traditional economic thought and at the same time critical of the traditional labour law arguments, instead offering a synthesis that is respectful of both economic goals and labour law goals. It showed his ability to make nuanced, sophisticated arguments, as well as his impressive interdisciplinary knowledge, which in other writings also included a very deep engagement with philosophy (notably, with the capability approach and with the republican non-domination idea).

A little after that we started being in touch. Looking back at my e-mails to and from Riccardo, I find hundreds of them, where we send articles to each other, send comments on articles and exchange ideas. Riccardo was always generous and supportive, gentle and at the same time enthusiastic about the issues he (and I) wrote about. We got to collaborate on several projects (such as special issues). We also had a chance to meet quite a few times in international conferences, and most meaningfully, to invite each other to small workshops at our respective universities. This gave me an opportunity to spend a few days in Florence and enjoy the amazing hospitality of Riccardo, and later to reciprocate by enjoying his company (as well as that of his wife Angela, and his colleagues William and Maria Luisa) for a few days in Jerusalem. By then, Riccardo was not only an admired colleague, but also a friend. 

Riccardo was actually supposed to come to another workshop in Jerusalem in 2020, but Covid intervened and we had to postpone it and later turn it into an online conference. By that time, sadly he was already ill, but he still wrote an excellent contribution for the special issue. Looking at his list of publications and other achievements, it is amazing to see how prolific Riccardo was, both in Italian and in English, and including during the time he was ill. An exemplary scholar, truly an inspiration, and an exceptionally kind individual. It is heartbreaking that he passed at such a young age. He will be greatly missed.

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