Learning outcomes of the course unit
TUnderstanding the Italian and European agri-food system, both with a supply chain and industry perspective and the food consumers’ perception and preferences.
Students will gain skills related to the analysis of case studies (e.g., the analysis of agro-food chain, or geographical indications) using the knowledge acquired during the course.
Propaedeutic courses are not required
Course contents summary
The course, after a brief introduction illustrating the main analytical tools of microeconomics, explores the aspects of the agri-food system and food demand. In particular, it analyzes the quality issues related to private and public standards and guarantee schemes, as well as private company strategies. A specific part of the course aims to analyze the distinctive characteristics and behavior management of agricultural and food cooperatives.
1. Introduction to economics
1.1 Introduction to microeconomics
1.2 Markets and price system
1.3 Supply and demand
1.4 Firms’ costs curves
1.5 Profit-maximizing level of output
2. Agriculture: from sector to system
2.1 Role of agriculture in the national economy
2.2 Food industry and distribution
2.3 Analyzing tools for the agri-food system
2.4 Analysis of agri-food system structure and organization
2.5 Network economy and local agri-food systems
3. Trends in quality food consumption
3.1 New trends in food consumption
3.2 Food quality
3.3 Food quality indications and standards
3.4 Costs and benefits of food quality strategies
4. Agri-food cooperatives and producers’ organizations
4.1 The economic objective of the cooperatives
4.2 Relationship between cooperative and members
4.3 Elements of the cooperatives’ balance sheet
4.4 Management analysis of the cooperative firms
4.5 The cooperatives’ role in the Italian agri-food system
4.6 The Italian legislation of producers’ organizations
4.7 The producers’ organizations role and activities in the Italian agri-food system
Selected readings, edition 2011/2012. Further readings will be uploaded on the teacher’s webpage
F. Ferretti, F. Messori (2010) Economia del mercato dei prodotti agroalimentari, Il Sole 24 Ore Edagricole.
Lectures, written and oral exercises
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam will be written (at least three open-ended questions).
The knowledge that we intend to evaluate concern the whole program, i.e.: 1) Micro-economics, 2) Agri-food system organisation, 3) Cooperatives and producer’s associations, 4) Quality specification in the agri-food system and Geographical Indications, 5) Agricultural policy: evolution of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and 6) Food safety policy. The skills that will be assessed are related to the student's ability to apply these concepts in the case studies proposed by the teacher during the final examination. In the examination, the teacher will provide students with at least three open-ended questions.
The criteria used to evaluate students are: a) ability to use the knowledge transmitted during the course, in concrete case studies suggested by the teacher in the three questions of the final examination, b) ability to argue the responses with the use of formulas and graphics, to analyze from an economic point of view the proposed case studies, c) formal language and use of specific terminology. For each question these three criteria will be weighed in the following way: a) 50%, b) 30%, c) 20%. For each of the three questions, the teacher will assign a score from 1 to 10 using the weights for the three criteria; to achieve the minimum evaluation candidates must achieve a total score greater than or equal to 18