Info
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Course 2018-2019 a.y.

20616 - ECONOMICS AND POLITICS

PPA
Department of Economics

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 24

PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:
SALVATORE NUNNARI

Classes: 24 (II sem.)
Instructors:
Class 24: SALVATORE NUNNARI


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

How do politics, institutions and culture affect economic outcomes? This course is designed to provide students with key methodological tools and substantial knowledge from cultural and political economics. The course examines competing hypotheses on the role of geography, economic institutions, political institutions, and culture for long-term economic growth and cross-country differences in economic policies. It then analyzes how politicians’ and bureaucrats’ incentives influence economic policies, and, in turn, how these incentives are shaped by political institutions (with a focus on electoral rules and forms of governments). The course also explores the role of religion for the accumulation of human capital and economic progress. Finally, it illustrates how voters’ cognitive biases might play a role in the emergence and persistence of inefficient economic policies.

CONTENT SUMMARY
  • The Role of Geography for Growth and Development

  • The Role of Institutions for Growth and Development

  • The Role of Culture for Growth and Development

  • Religion, Human Capital and Economic Outcomes

  • The Effect of Political Institutions on Fiscal Policies
  • The Effect of Political Institutions on Politicians' Selection
  • Special Interests and Lobbying 
  • Voters’ Heuristics and Cognitive Biases

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand the different hypotheses on the role of geography, institutions and culture for economic progress 

  • Understand the role of religion (and religiosity) for accumulation of human capital and economic growth.

  • Explain how economic policies are determined through political processes

  • Recognize how politicians’ decisions are guided by electoral incentives

APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Critically compare the different hypotheses on the role of geography, institutions and culture for economic progress 

  • Evaluate the consequences of religion (and religiosity) for economic development across time and space.

  • Evaluate the consequences of political reforms on economic outcomes

  • Design political institutions to promote economic growth

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Group assignments
DETAILS

The learning experience of this course includes, in addition to face-to-face lectures by the instructors, one or more guest lectures by leading scholars in the field of political economics or culture economics. Students will also be asked to prepare one group presentation on a research paper at the frontier of the field. These presentations will be used for the student assessment as well as a basis for a discussion of the papers in class, during which students will be encouraged to bring their own views and to share their insights on the most significant, controversial or innovative aspects of the research project.


Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    In order to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes, the assessment of attending students is based on three main components: 1) a midterm written exam, 2) a final written exam, and 3) an in-class group presentation. 

     

    The two written exams contribute up to 15 points each to the final grade (for a total of 30 points) and are both based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions. Multiple choice questions will be designed to test the students’ knowledge of the basic fundamental concepts and notions about different political institutions and cultural norms as well as their consequences on economic outcomes. Open-ended questions will be aimed at evaluating the students’ ability to establish connections between findings reported in different readings and to use these connections to evaluate the impact of a cultural or institutional shock to social, political, and economic outcomes. The midterm exam will focus on the material covered in the first part of the course. The final exam will focus on the material covered in the second part of the course.

     

    At the beginning of the course, the instructors will form small groups of students and assign to each group a research paper at the frontier of the field. This assignment tests the ability of students to summarize the research question and results presented in scientific journal articles, to enhance their critical thinking, and to engage them in the most recent debate on the consequences of institutions and cultural norms. The aim of this assignment is also to improve students’ communication and presentation skills. Members of the groups that give a clear and effective presentation will receive 1 additional point. Members of the two groups that give the best presentation will receive 2 additional points.

    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Written general exam (100% of the final grade) based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions, which aims to assess the student’s ability to describe the main theoretical and empirical findings contained in the readings covered over the course of the semester.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    Teaching materials will be announced before the start of the course and indicated or uploaded to the Blackboard platform

    Last change 01/05/2018 11:29