cod. 01961

Academic year 2020/21
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. 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; in order to improve the preliminary knowledge possessed for the understanding of the topics covered in the program of the course, the first lessons (total 6 hours) will be aimed at enabling the student to familiarize with the economic language and at presenting possible methodological approaches to the study of the subject;
- 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.

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.

Teaching methods

Didactic activities will be conducted mainly through frontal lessons. However, students will be involved in the activities through questions and discussions.
The lessons will be held in presence with the possibility to enjoy them also online (via Teams).

The slides will be uploaded on Elly (elly.gspi.unipr.it) on a weekly basis. They may help either attending or non-attending Students in preparing their exam, but they do not substitute for the handbook.

Recorded lessons will be available on Elly

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam
The questions of the oral test may cover all the issues of the course and the number of questions is not less than three. At least a question relates to microeconomic issues
and at least one to macroeconomic issues.
The oral test aims at assessing the knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of political economy; the skill to communicate on the issues of political economy analyzed in the course appropriately; the ability to discuss, through appropriate arguments, possible proposals and considerations related to economic issues related to the topics discussed in the course; the ability to critically interpret the main economic events related to the topics considered in the course.
An insufficiency assessment is determined by the lack of knowledge of the contents of the course and by the inability to express themselves adequately to the topic.
During the first semester, because of the persistence of the health emergency and depending on its evolving, the exams may take place either in mixed mode (viz. in attendance, but with the possibility of taking it even remotely for students who submit a specific request to the teacher), or only online for everyone (that is, remotely). Before the exam, the teacher will timely give information about the chosen modality through the Esse3 system.

Other information

In relation to the COVID-19 health emergency, the exams of 8 September 2020 and of 27 October 2020 will be oral through MS Teams. See http://selma.unipr.it/ for instructions. 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.