Learning outcomes of the course unit
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.
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.
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.
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 contents summary
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.
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.
Didactic activities will be conducted mainly through frontal lessons. However, students will be involved in the activities through questions and discussions.
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.
Assessment methods and criteria
Written exam and possible additional oral exam.
Written test (1hour).
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 integrative and optional oral test is performed in a separate day. Students who
have obtained a written test score of at least 16/30 are admitted to the
oral test. For students who take the oral test: the questions of the oral
test concern all the issues of the course and the number of questions is
not less than two. At least a question relates to microeconomic issues
and at least one to macroeconomic issues.
In the event of a continuing health emergency, and depending on its evolving, the exams may follow a different mode and may take place in attendance, in mixed mode, 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.