Learning outcomes of the course unit
Understanding 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) Micro-economics: demand and supply; perfect competitive markets;
theory of production.
2) Agri-food system organisation: supply chain; vertical and horizontal
3) Cooperatives and producer’s associations: cooperatives’ role in the
agri-food system; elements of the cooperatives’ balance sheet.
4) Sustainability in the agri-food sector, evolution of the concept, environmental, social and economic sustainability of the short supply chains, sustainable diets, food loss and waste;
5) Quality specification in the agri-food system and Geographical Indications: quality attributes of food products; asymmetric information, moral hazard and adverse selection; compulsory public regulations; voluntary certification schemes; economics of traditional and quality certified products (e.g. PDO/PGI).
- Textbook edited by the teacher "Economics of the Agrifood System".
- F. Ferretti, F. Messori (2010) Economia del mercato dei prodotti
agroalimentari, Il Sole 24 Ore Edagricole.
- Further readings will be uploaded on the teacher’s webpage.
Lectures and seminars
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) Sustainability in the agri-food sector, 5) Quality specification in the agri-food system and Geographical Indications. 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