Economics of growth and sustainability

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to introduce students to the theory of economic growth and of sustainability. The first part of the course aims to give students the analytical basis to contextualize sustainable development within the economic growth theory. The mathematical principles involved will be briefly presented, the main models of exogenous growth will be developed introducing the environment and environmental policies as additional control variables.
ii. The second part of the course aims to give students an overview of the environmental, social and economic role of sustainable development. The role of sustainable development in the international setting will be presented considering international trade and analysing the United Nations sustainable development goals. The applied part of this module will present the indicators of sustainable development and the relationship between economic development and environment will be analyses through the so called Environmental Kuznets Curve.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course students will get acquainted with the fundamental models of macro-economic growth theory, will be able to apply them and interpret their results in the broader context of sustainability and sustainable development.
Furthermore, they will familiarize with the multidimensional concept of sustainability, understand trade off and potential complementarities across sustainable development dimensions, will get a clear view of the multiple challenges that economic policies have to face to promote sustainability, and also of the opportunities that may arise. Finally, they will be updated on the ongoing international UN debate on sustainable development.
Overall, the course will improve the students' capacity to address the sustainability challenge with an holistic and integrated perspective, supporting the idea that complexity can be managed.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The teaching is diveded into two modules.
The first aims to expose students to the basics of economic growth. The mathematical principles involved will be briefly presented, the main models of exogenous growth (Slow and Ramsey) will be developed to conclude with some primers in endogenous growth (Learning by doing and R&D models). The environmental dimension, introduced as an additional control variable, will then enrich the treatment of the problem.
The second module of the course has the objective to provide students an overview of sustainable development from an environmental, social and economic perspective. This module will firstly explore the main issues related to sustainable development, with particular reference to environmental themes. The main sustainable development indicators together with the main environmental assessment methodologies will be then presented. The social and economic aspects of sustainable development will be then studied, analysing also the role of international institutions and international cooperation.
Prerequisites for admission
Mathematics, microeconomics, environmental and natural resource economics
Teaching methods
For the first module:
Barro, Sala i Martin "Economic growth" MIT press (any edition), Sections 1.2, 1.2 Chapert 2 until section 2.6 Chapter 4 sections 4.1,4.2, 4.3 and mathematical appendix (Just the part developed during the classes)
D. Romer "Advanced Macroeconomics" Mc Graw Hill Chapter 3 from 3.1 to 3.4.
Textbooks could be integrated by papers suggested by the teacher. Were this the case, these papers will be made available also to students not attending classess through the curse-dedicated ARIEL website.
For the second module:
An Introduction to Sustainable Development by Peter Rogers, Kazi F. Jalal, John A. Boyd.
Handbook of Sustainable Development - Second Edition by Giles Atkinson, Simon Dietz, Eric Neumayer, Matthew Agarwala - Edward Elgar Publishing.
Other articles suggested by the professor.
Assessement methods and criteria
For the first module:
written exam consisting in answering 2 questions implying the total or partial solution of the models presented during the lectures.
For the second module:
written exam, with both open and multiple choice questions. The exam may be partly substituted by or integrated with an essay the student should write on a pre-assigned topic or paper.
SECS-P/01 - ECONOMICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours