9 credits during the 1st year of 7995 LAW (LMG/01) GENOVA
1° Semester
This unit is divided into 3 sections: A, B, C. This page refers to the section
Teaching materials


Political Economy aims at studying economic phenomena both at the individual level (microeconomics) and at the aggregate level (macroeconomics). The discipline uses inductive and deductive methods based on the construction of abstract theoretical models. These methodological tools represent the analytical foundation for analyzing individual choices, social well-being, public economy, the opportunity of a possible intervention of the State on the economy, as well as economic policies.



The course provides the essential tools for understanding the incentives of economic agents in a context of market interaction or strategic interaction


The course of Political Economy offers the essential tools required to understanding the incentives underlying the choices of rational economic agents who find themselves operating in a certain market or in a situation of strategic interaction.


The course of Political Economy intends to offer the basic notions of microeconomics and macroeconomics by highlighting their practical applicability to current economic issues. Special attention will be paid by the teacher to the aspects of the discipline that lead to a better knowledge of the institutional mechanisms underlying national and international economic policy. At the end of the course, students will be able to have their own orientation within the current economic debate and will have developed a broad awareness of the limits of the discipline. The acquisition of the main tools exploited by the economic theory, will allow students to carry out independent research and analyze current economic events from a new perspective and with greater discernment.


In order to attend in the most profitable way the course of Political Economy, a basic knowledge about relations between algebraic variables strictly necessary. The concepts studied by economists can be often conveyed in numerical form and economic variables can be illustrated by means of graphs (or Cartesian diagrams) which are the main tools for analyzing their patterns. Graphs and diagrams serve mainly two purposes. First, in the formulation of economic theories they offer a synthetic and a visual representation of the theoretical frameworks taken into consideration, which is usually more easily understood than the corresponding analytical expressions that instead relies on systems of equations. Moreover, in the analysis of economic data, graphs allow students to highlight how economic variables are correlated with each other and establishing their temporal trend.

Teaching methods

The course is given through lectures, for a total of 54 hours (equal to 9 CFU), during which the main microeconomic and macroeconomic models will be presented and analyzed.


Part 1: Concepts and mechanisms

I. The things we study and how we do it

1. Economics, problems and solutions

2. A way of reasoning and behaving

3. Principles and methods of economic analysis

4. Economic policy

5. Levels of analysis


II. What is a market?

1. Market

2. Demand

3. Offer

4. Equilibrium


Part 2: Consumers and firms

III. Constraints and choices

1. What is behind the demand curve?

2. The set of possible alternatives

3. Preferences

4. Consumer’s choice


IV. People and the market

1. Quantity demanded and changes in income

2. Quantity demanded and price changes

3. Income effect and substitution effect

4. Consumer surplus


V. How to produce goods

1. Short and long term

2. Production

3. Technological constraints


VI. Firms and markets

1. Production and costs

2. Cost functions

3. How much and whether to produce


Part 3: How markets work

VII. Perfect competition

1. Determinants of supply and demand

2. Equilibrium in perfect competition

3. Social well-being

4. How the market reacts

5. Elasticity


VIII. Imperfect competition

1. Market power

2. Market forms

3. Wellness


IX. Risk, uncertainty and information

1. Risk and uncertainty

2. Manage risk

3. Asymmetric information


Part 4: The economic system

X. Market and public intervention

1. Rules and taxes

2. Public intervention and market functioning

3. The State also has problems


XI. Factor markets and finance

1. Goods and services, labour and capital

2. Labour market

3. Production possibilities

4. Time and savings

5. Speculation and finance


XII. Macroeconomics

1. Interactions between markets

2. Macroeconomic equilibrium

3. Macroeconomic fluctuations

4. Growth, progress and crisis


Bertola G., Lo Prete, A. (2011), Istituzioni di economia, Il Mulino (ISBN: 978-88-15-23266-3).

The teacher will eventually provide further readings during the course.


Ricevimento: By appointment, send an e-mail to

Exam Board





Teaching methods

The course is given through lectures, for a total of 54 hours (equal to 9 CFU), during which the main microeconomic and macroeconomic models will be presented and analyzed.


I semester from September 16th to December 6th 2019 (12 weeks)
II semester from February 17th to May 9th 2020 (12 weeks)


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Exam description

In order to assess the acquisition of the required skills, a written test (multiple-choice test) will be performed at the end of the course. Depending on the number of attending students, the teacher may also decide to plan mid-term tests. Non-attending students will have the chance to face the entire exam program by means of an oral test that will also collect a written part.

Assessment methods

Both the written and the oral test aim at verifying the students’ skills and the acquisition of the basic theoretical notions addressed during the course. Through the answers given to general questions, it will be verified whether students are able to:

- identifying and defining economic concepts using the appropriate technical language;

- reasoning in an independent manner by using the conceptual models studied during the course.

During the oral test, addressed to non-attending students, a plurality of questions will be raised by the exam committee with the aim of assessing the proper understanding of the topics collected in the syllabus of the course. After the written test, aimed at attending students, the exam committee will evaluate the understanding of the topics covered during the lectures.

In general, students will have to demonstrate that they understood the importance and the meaning of the various topics covered in the course of Political Economy by discussing microeconomic and macroeconomic models.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
11/09/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale


Attending the course of Political Economy is not compulsory. However, given the technical contents of the discipline, attending the lectures is strictly recommended.