cod. 01961

Academic year 2019/20
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Economia politica (SECS-P/01)
Formazione interdisciplinare
Type of training activity
62 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding.
The student is expected to know the basic concepts and principles of political economy, considering the major recent advances that have characterized the frontier areas of research in economics. In particular, the student is expected to acquire the fundamental knowledge related to: the characteristics of different types of market structures, the market failures, the behavior of firms, the principle of comparative advantage, the components and measurement of GDP, the notion of economic growth, the functions of money and the short-run economic fluctuations.

Applying knowledge and understanding.
The student should be able to understand and discuss clearly, through appropriate arguments, possible proposals and considerations related to problems and issues of various complexity in the economic sphere related to issues discussed in the course, such as market efficiency and equity and the key issues in a macroeconomic perspective, such as unemployment, inflation, and the determinants of economic growth.

Making judgements.
At the end of the course the student should have acquired the ability to critically interpret the main economic events at the center of the national and international debate, also through the collection of data and information from reliable sources.

Communication skills.
The students is expected to be able to communicate their own comments and ideas on the issues of political economy analyzed in the course to various interlocutors effectively and appropriately.

Learning skills.
The student is expected to develop a personal method of study and to acquire the ability to undertake, in the most independent way possible, more complex and thorough studies, particularly in respect to economic issues.



Course unit content

The program of the course will consider both a microeconomic approach (the analysis of the behavior of single economic agents, such as consumers and firms, and of their interactions in single markets) and a macroeconomic one (the analysis of variables and phenomena at an aggregate level).

More specifically, the program will focus on:
- an introduction to economics;
- the principle of comparative advantage;
- the functioning of the market, analyzing the concepts of demand and supply, and presenting the concept of elasticity of demand and supply and its applications;
- the concepts of consumers surplus, producer surplus and market efficiency;
- the concepts of externalities, public goods and common resources;
- firm’s behavior and the notions of production functions, costs, revenues, and economies of scale;
- different types of market structures, such as perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly and monopolistic competition
- components of GDP and its measurement;
- the concept of economic growth in relation to the concept of economic development and the determinants of economic growth; saving and investment; unemployment;
- money and prices (the meaning of money; the functions of money;
money supply and demand; inflation and its costs);
- short-run economic fluctuations (spending multiplier, aggregate demand and aggregate supply); the influence of monetary and fiscal policy on aggregate demand.

At the end of the lessons concerning the program of the course described above, a supplementary in-depth study on the themes of welfare economics is planned, with particular reference to the concepts of efficiency and equity. At least six hours of explanation in the classroom will be devoted to this part.

Full programme

- - -


N.G. MANKIW, L’essenziale di economia, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2016, Sesta edizione (pp. 480); English edition: N.G. MANKIW, Essentials of Economics, Stamford, Cengage Learning, 2015, Seventh edition (pp.566). Note: the English version does not include the chapters on Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition which are included in the program of the course.

With reference to the in-depth study concerning the themes of welfare economics:
Intervento pubblico, efficienza ed equità (booklet available online - http://elly.giurisprudenza.unipr.it) (pp. 28).

Teaching methods

Didactic activities will be conducted mainly through frontal lessons. However, students will be involved in the activities through questions and discussions.
Slides presented in class by the instructor will be posted online on a weekly basis (http://elly.giurisprudenza.unipr.it).
Slides do not replace the study of the textbook.

Assessment methods and criteria

NB: during the period of suspension of all teaching activities for the COVID-19 health emergency, and for sure with respect to the three exams between May and June 2020, exams will be oral through MS Teams. Students will be provided few days before with instructions concerning the participation in the exam. During the exam knowledge and understanding described in the learning outcome will be evaluated on a scale from 0 to 30.

Written exam and possible additional oral exam.
Written test (1hour and 15min).

The knowledge and understanding will be assessed with two open questions (each worth 5 points), which ask a short answer that is specifically aimed at verifying the knowledge of the concepts and principles discussed in the course.
The communication skills, the ability to apply the acquired knowledge through appropriate arguments and reflections and the autonomy of judgment will be assessed with two open questions (each worth 10 points), structured on several points which require the articulation of a discourse which integrates different notions acquired during the course in a coherent and logical way.
Learning skills will be assessed on the basis of an assessment across the various answers to the different questions of the exam.
The integrative oral test is performed in a separate day. Students who have obtained a written test score of at least 15/30 are admitted to the oral test. For students who take the oral test: the questions of the oral test concern all the issues of the course and the number of questions is not less than two. At least a question relates to microeconomic issues and at least one to macroeconomic issues.
For students who attend lectures an intermediate test on the entire programme covered in class will be held. Students who pass this test will not have to take the written test during the final exam.

It is also possible to take an optional written test (20 minutes) in relation to the in-depth study on the issues of welfare economics described in the "Contents" section. This test must be held on the same day as the written exam relating to the program of the course and consists of two true-false questions with explanation of the answer and of a comment on a graph. This test may add from 0 to 3 points to the mark obtained in the written exam concerning the program of the course, provided that the latter is at least equal to 18/30. In the event that the mark of the written exam concerning the program of the course is lower than 18/30, the score obtained in the test relating to the themes of welfare economics will be considered valid in relation to the subsequent exam rounds.

Other information

Further information on the readings may be indicated during the course
and reported online (http://elly.giurisprudenza.unipr.it).