International Economic Policy

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The purpose of this course is to provide students with tools enabling them to analyse and understand the nature of the various forces governing economic systems, within each of them, and in respect to their intercourse with other economic systems at the international level. This will be done keeping always in mind that, although international economic policy seems apparently to concern States (and this visual angle cannot be avoided), the substantial results of any economic policy action must be directed to the welfare of individuals, families and enterprises, not to the objectives of an abstract entity as a State whose government often acts against the real interests of the people.
Special consideration will be given to agriculture as a fundamental activity for the life of mankind; a particular attention will be reserved to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Expected learning outcomes
The course will permit students to master the specialised language of Political Economy, Economic Policy and International Economics, as a prerequisite for the understanding of economic phenomena and the mechanisms concerning the functioning of economic systems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
If, in the emergency phase, online teaching is to be used, the teaching program will be modified as follows:

Teaching methods:
The lessons will be held on Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode according to the scheduled times for the second semester and will be recorded and available on the platform itself in asynchronous mode. Only in specific cases, duly communicated through the ARIEL website, lessons will be held asynchronously (videolessons).

Program and bibliography:
The course program and bibliography will remain unchanged.

Methods of testing and evaluation criteria:
The exam will take place orally through the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the instructions provided by the University. The learning objectives and evaluation criteria will remain unchanged.
Course syllabus
The topics that will be addressed during the course are: the genesis and evolution of the current international economic order; market forms; the characteristics of the various production activities (agriculture, industry & crafts, trade, banks & insurance) and commodities (goods and services); the influence of technology on the workforce employment; the problems related to the policies necessary to face the extreme poverty that characterizes different populations, especially in Africa; the importance of resources (renewable and non-renewable) and their use; the problems posed by international trade and exchange rate fluctuations; the tyranny exercised on the various countries and their inhabitants by public (IMF International Monetary Fund, World Bank, EU European Commission, ECB European Central Bank) and private (multinational companies, rate agencies) supranational institutions, by uncontrolled financial power over productive activities of the real economy; the appropriate use of quantitative and qualitative data for cognitive and comparative purposes to develop hypotheses to be tested and supported with the most suitable methodology; the grouping of economic systems in geo-cultural areas, due to the common historical heritage or to the different working of the institutions and practices in force in different civilization contexts.
Particular attention will be paid to the methods and tools used to measure the material well-being of a population, emphasizing in this regard the inadequacy of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its performance. A careful examination of the nature and genesis of public debt in various countries will be conducted, highlighting its important economic and social function. The economic policies implemented in the European Union following the Covid-19 epidemic will also be analyzed.
No economic policy can be implemented using only economic instruments, and therefore the dominant currents of thought (liberalism, protectionism, etc.) cannot be ignored in the historical periods considered. In particular, without taking into account the worldview based on racism, religious or ideological fundamentalism and nationalism (which have characterized human history for the past three centuries) it would be difficult to understand past economic events, and those in progress, whose performance is still conditioned today by these powerful extra-economic forces.
Special consideration will be given to agriculture as a fundamental activity for the life of mankind. It is important, indeed, to bring back in the natural bed of economic discourse its essential part, given that trade and finance are ancillary activities and not fundamental ones, as one might believe by observing the weight of contemporary economic literature concerning these topics.
Attention to the forms that agricultural economy assumed in the various African countries over time - as well as the space dedicated to the lesser known aspects of the very important African agriculture - is a must, and these different methods of exercising agriculture and activities related to it, in very different and constantly changing climatic conditions, could prove to be bright examples from which to draw inspiration to face with appropriate tools the uncertain future of the life of mankind on the Earth.
Prerequisites for admission
No special prerequisites are required.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
9-credit examination:
- GIANNI FODELLA, MATERIALI per una introduzione allo studio della POLITICA ECONOMICA INTERNAZIONALE [MATERIALS for an introduction to the study of International Economic Policy], LUMI Edizioni Universitarie, Fourth edition, Milano dicembre 2017 (pp.1-302)
- GIUSEPPE PRESTÌA, LA CENTRALITÀ DELL'AGRICOLTURA nello sviluppo economico e nella crescita - L'ignorata eredità africana e alcune delle esperienze agricole più significative del mondo [THE CENTRALITY OF AGRICULTURE in economic development and growth - The ignored African heritage and some of the world most significant agricultural experiences] LUMI Edizioni Universitarie, Fourth edition, Milano 2017 (pp. XXII+865)
- the material about the European economic governance and the Greek debt crisis made available on Ariel website
- any other material made available by the teacher during the course and available on Ariel website.

6-credit examination:
Students who intend to take the 6-credit exam must prepare the book by G. Fodella in full, the material about the European economic governance and the Greek debt crisis, and three chapters chosen from the book by G. Prestia (excluding chapter 1).

3-credit examination:
For the 3-credit exam, students have to prepare only G. Fodella's book and the material about the european economic governance and the greek debt crisis downloadable from the Ariel website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The examination is oral: the student will be questioned in order to ascertain the learning of the basic concepts of international economic policy, the acquisition of the necessary tools for the analysis of economic systems and their interdependency, in addition to the knowledge of issues related to agriculture and economic development with particular reference to Sub-Saharan Africa.
The examination methods are the same for attending and non-attending students. It is not possible to split the exam into two distinct sessions.
SECS-P/02 - ECONOMIC POLICY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours