Sustainable Development

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course will introduce students to the theory and empirical foundation of sustainable development.
After the introduction of the concept and history of sustainable development, the more theoretical part of the course will present analytically the concept of sustainability in the context of modern growth theory emphasizing the dichotomy optimality vs sustainability, the introduction of non-renewable resources and the concept of decoupling.
The second part of the course will introduce the different dimensions of sustainability, it will present what is the role of sustainable development in the international setting and in the international policy agenda. The applied part of this module will introduce the main sustainable development indicators and it will analyse the relationship between economic development and the environment.
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, they 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

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Lectures will be held in person in the assigned classroom, according to the course timetable, provided that health regulations permit it. All teaching activities will also held online and recorded making use of the Microsoft Teams platform. All recorded lectures will be available after the scheduled classes. Slides and other teaching material will be made available on the web page of the course on the Ariel platform.
Course syllabus
The course aims to provide students with an overview of sustainable development from an environmental, social and economic perspective. There will be two parts. In the first one theoretical models of economic growth without and with the environment will be presented. In the second module the main environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development will be explored. The main themes will be the relationship between economic growth and sustainable development, looking in particular to the contribution of countries' resource endowment and international trade; environment, food security and sustainable development, how climate change is threatening sustainable development.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of math, microeconomics and econometrics are required. In particular, since part of the course will review empirical scientific papers, students should be able to interpret the results of basic econometric regressions.
Teaching methods
Frontal teaching. Lectures will be held either in person as well as online on the dedicated Teams platform. In case the emergency situation related to COVID 19 continues, lectures will be held exclusively on the Microsoft Teams platform in synchronized mode.
Teaching Resources
- Romer, D. Advanced Macroeconomics, W.W. Norton & Co.
- Barro, R.J., Sala-i-Martin, X.I., Economic Growth, MIT Press
- Sachs, J.D., The Age of Sustainable Development, Columbia University Press.
- Atkinson, G., Dietz, S., Neumayer, E., Agarwala, M. (eds.), Handbook of Sustainable Development (2nd ed.), Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Slides and lecture notes of the course
- Scientific articles suggested by the teacher
Assessment methods and Criteria
The course is divided into two parts. The exam of the first part is written and will consist of a few open questions. whereas an oral exam will be scheduled for the second part. During this exam, students will also have the possibility to present a scientific paper in detail. The article will be assigned by the teacher, if requested by the students, some weeks before the exam. During the exams it will be evaluated the knowledge of the basic concepts discussed during the course and the ability to understand the research questions and the basic econometric approaches used in the scientific articles discussed during the course.
SECS-P/01 - ECONOMICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Curzi Daniele