Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding.
The course aims to provide students with the basic concepts and
principles of economic policy. In particular, the course intends to provide
students with fundamental knowledge related to: the “logic” of economic
policy; individual and social preferences; the pareto criterion and the new
welfare economics; theories of justice and social welfare functions; social
preferences and institutions; fundamental elements of
macroeconomics; monetary policy, fiscal policy and aspects related to
Applying knowledge and understanding.
The student will be able to maintain and discuss clearly, through
appropriate arguments, possible proposals and considerations related to
economic policy issues, such as the logic of economic policy or the
efficiency of diverse economic policies on the basis of different
At the end of the course students will have acquired the ability to
critically interpret the main economic events at the center of the national
and international debate of economic policy, by evaluating their logic and
effects in the light of the different approaches and theoretical models
Students will be able to communicate their own comments and ideas on
the issues of economic policy analyzed in the course to various
interlocutors effectively and appropriately.
Student will acquire the ability to undertake, in the most independent
way possible, the analysis and the understanding of the logic behind alternative economic policies and of their potential effects.
Course contents summary
The subject of the course is the analysis of the economic action of the
public sector. The course is divided into four main parts.
The first part considers the definition of criteria or objectives of economic
policy. This part focuses on the following topics: individual and social
preferences; the pareto criterion and the new welfare economics;
theories of justice, social welfare functions and social optimum; social
preferences and institutions (state and market). This part also presents a focus on the evolution of the welfare state and on the concept of “second welfare”.
The second part introduces some fundamental elements of
macroeconomics in order to analyze the economic policy at a macro
level. This part analyzes: the simple keynesian model, the IS-LM model,
the AD-AS model, models in open economies, the idea of multi-level
a p p r o a c h . Finally, this part presents an analysis of the notion of GDP as an indicator of welfare and discusses the Easterlin Paradox.
The third part considers the monetary policy, the fiscal policy and aspects
related to microeconomic policy.
The last part of the course analyzes the European integration, focusing
on the theory of the Optimum Currency Area, evaluating costs and
benefits of a common currency. This part also analyzes the Maastricht criteria and discusses the idea of expansionary austerity.
N. ACOCELLA, Fondamenti di politica economica, Carocci editore, 2011,
chapters 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 (with respect to chapter 6 only sections 9 and 10).
V. VALLI, A. GEUNA and R. BURLANDO, Politica economica e
macroeconomia, Carocci editore, 2010, only chapters: 1,2,3,4,5, 6,
11,12,13, 14, and 17.
N.G. MANKIW and M.P. TAYLOR, L’essenziale di economia, Bologna,
Zanichelli, 2012, only chapter 29.
F. MAINO e M. FERRERA (a cura di) (2013), Primo Rapporto sul Secondo welfare in Italia, Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione Luigi Einaudi. Only the introduction - Ferrera M. and the first chapter "Tra nuovi bisogni e vincoli di bilancio: protagonisti, risorse, innovazione sociale" - Maino F.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written and oral exam.
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 oral test concerns all the issues of the course and fills any gaps which
eventually emerge in the written test.
Optional work in groups realized during the course can add up to 3 points to the final evaluation.