cod. 1007392

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Politica economica (SECS-P/02)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
63 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

This course aims to provide students the basics of the international economic theory and the determinants of the evolution of international trade and multinational corporations.
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:
1. analyze, understand, and explain the determinants of economic growth at the global level;
2. explain the effects of international trade on the economy;
3. understand how the most important economic policy authorities (governments and the international economic institutions) can influence the main economic variables and improve economic welfare worldwide;
4. understand the history, the functioning and the importance of multinational corporations.
5. acquire the tools required to understand and analyze global economic data;
6. discuss economic issues (concepts, definitions, implications) with professionals and/or policy makers;
7. use macroeconomic and microeconomic techniques to explain complex issues through economic data, charts and analytical formulae.


A basic level of knowledge in the field of micro and macroeconomics.

Course unit content

The first part of this course is taught by Prof. Capone, and the following topics are covered during the lectures:
1. An introduction to international economics;
2. Early Trade Theories: Mercantilism and the Transition to David Ricardo;
3. David Ricardo and Comparative Advantage
4. Extensions and Tests of the Classical Model of Trade;
5. Factor Endowments, the Heckscher-Ohlin Model and its empirical evidence;
6. Gains from Trade in Neoclassical Theory;
7. Free trade versus Protectionism;
8. Advanced topics.

The second part is taught by Prof. Canello, and the following topics are covered during the lectures:
1. An introduction to globalization and transnational corporations (TNCs);
2. Foreign direct investment (FDI): evolution and concepts;
3. Early theories of FDI: Marxist approaches; Neoclassical paradigm, Hymer;
4. The product life cycle theory;
5. Transaction cost approaches and Dunning’s eclectic framework;
6. The Uppsala model and the evolutionary theories of the TNCs;
7. Nation-states and TNCs’ strategic behavior;
8. Effects of TNCs and FDI on home and host countries;
9. Advanced topics.

Full programme



First part: D. Appleyard, A. Field, International Economics, McGraw-Hill, 2017 (8th Edition), selected chapters.
Second part: G. Ietto-Gillies, Transnational Corporations and International Production, Edward Elgar, 2019 (3rd edition).
Additional material will also be made available on the Elly platform.

The slides used during classes will be uploaded every week on the Elly platform. To download the slides, you need to subscribe to the online course. Studying the textbook is necessary to effectively prepare for the exam; the slides are used only as a teaching support and do not replace the textbook under any circumstances. Any supplementary material on the topics presented during the lectures will be uploaded on the Elly platform. Any material uploaded on Elly should be considered as mandatory for the exam. Classroom lectures will be recorded, provided that: 1) there is no technical issue related to recording; 2) an adequate number of students attends the lecture in presence. Recordings will be uploaded on Elly and will be available until the start of next year course.

Teaching methods

Acquisition of knowledge: lectures

Acquisition of the ability to apply analytical methodologies: individual or small group homework assignments.

Acquisition of the autonomy of judgment: individual or small group in-class discussions on homework assignments.
The course is organized in 2 teaching modules. Each module includes 28 teaching hours.

Acquisition of learning skills: During classes, both theoretical concepts and international macroeconomics and microeconomics models will be introduced with an application to the behaviour of multinational companies. During classes, students are expected to interact and critically evaluate the topics presented by the instructors.

Acquisition of technical language: during the course the meaning of the terms commonly used in international economics will be illustrated. The lessons will favour interaction with the classroom to stimulate the critical discussion of the topics examined. Students will discuss case studies and/or scientific articles. The aim is to apply the theoretical knowledge introduced during classes to practical problems.

Both instructors will be available after class and during office hours for explanations on the course material and exam.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students can choose between two assessment options, described below:

- Innovative Path
First module (Prof. Capone): The assessment has two steps:
1) Individual or small group (max 2 students) homework assignments, on a weekly basis;
2) For students that successfully completed step 1, a written exam scheduled at the end of the module. Students can choose to answer to two out of three questions on the topics discussed during the course (time available: 1 hour; up to 30 points).
Second module (Prof. Canello): The assessment has two steps:
1) Three individual homework assignments. Each assignment will be worth 10% of the final grade for the second module (total weight of the assignment part: 30% of the final grade for the second module);
2) For students that successfully completed step 1, a written exam scheduled at the end of the module. The exam will focus only on the topics/book chapters covered during the course (time available: 1 hour; worth 70% of the final grade for the second module).
The result can only be recorded in the first two official exam dates (in summer session).

- Traditional Path
The final exam is written, and consists of two parts (one for each module). Each part consists of two open-ended questions to be answered in 1 hour (total time: 2 hours).

During the course, students will be required to declare the assessment path they intend to undertake. The final score will consist of the arithmetic means of the scores obtained in the two modules: Prof. Capone and Prof. Canello.
Honors will be awarded to those particularly deserving students who have obtained the full evaluation in the exam and have overall demonstrated an appreciable systematic knowledge of the topic, an excellent ability to apply the knowledge acquired to the specific problem in question, a considerable autonomy of judgment, as well as a particular care in the formal drafting of the exam.
Regardless of how the exam is conducted, during the exam it is not allowed to consult any educational material or electronic device.
The final results are published on the Esse3 portal. Students can view the exam, after taking an appointment with the teacher on selected dates.

Other information