An economist with interdisciplinary research interest, Zanalda's areas of expertise include economic history, international economics and finance, and history of economics. Other areas of research interest include international economic history, the history of finance, the history of development, and emerging markets.
He is a graduate of the University of Turin, where he received a BA in political economy, and Johns Hopkins University, where he received two MA degrees and his PhD.
Zanalda is director of the Duke University Center for International Studies. He teaches Globalization and History, History of International Finance & Monetary Crises, and Economic History.