A first-generation college graduate, he received a Laurea summa cum laude in economics and social sciences from Bocconi University in Milan in 1987. Merlo emigrated to the United States in 1988 and earned a Ph.D. in economics from New York University in 1992.
Assistant professor University Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1992—1998. Associate professor at New York University, 1998—2000. Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, since 2000. Director of Pennsylvania Institute Economic Research, Philadelphia, since 2000.
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Member of National Bureau of Economic Research, Centre for Economic Policy Research.
Antonio Merlo is married to Dr. Gia Merlo. They have two children, Monisha Lewis, and Martina Merlo.