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Course 2020-2021 a.y.


Department of Economics

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 23

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

Classes: 23 (II sem.)

Suggested background knowledge

Students should have learned introductory Microeconomics and be familiar with concepts such as demand, supply, market equilibrium, competition, market power and labour supply. They should also have some familiarity with searching economic and financial information, news and data on the web.

Mission & Content Summary

This course aims at describing and explaining the functioning of an economy, providing an integrated view of macroeconomic issues and of the policies that can be implemented to face them. It will make students familiar with current macroeconomic events, analyzing them from an international perspective. Macroeconomics deals with the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole and proposes theories to investigate and understand its aggregate behavior. Therefore, macroeconomics helps to draw an overall picture of an economy and of its interactions with the rest of the world. In particular, it studies the tools, the targets and the institutional settings that characterize fiscal and monetary policies. This course provides students with the tools needed to understand and evaluate macroeconomic aspects, to read fundamental aggregate data and to listen in a critical way to the news and the debates on current macroeconomic policies that take place on the media. Special emphasis is given to the international and European dimensions of macroeconomic issues, including the benefits of supra-national cooperation in guiding national economies. Moreover, the course will also deal with the macroeconomic impact of Covid-19.

  • Introductory definitions - GDP, inflation, unemployment - and data analysis
  • The goods market: composition of GDP, equilibrium output, investment and saving
  • Financial markets: demand and supply of money and monetary policy
  • The labour market, wage and price setting, the natural rate of unemployment: the short and medium-term behavior of aggregate supply.
  • Policies implemented to affect economic activity, employment and inflation 
  • Open economy: trade dynamics, balance of payments and exchange rates
  • European economic integration and the Euro area
  • The main international macroeconomic events of the last decade and current perspectives
  • The macroeconomic impact of Covid-19

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand and explain the main macroeconomic terms (including, for instance, national income, gross domestic product, unemployment, money, depreciation, government budget)
  • Understand, explain and  summarize the most important points of macroeconomic reports and analyses issued by governments, central banks and international institutions
  • Identify and describe the main economic mechanisms lying behind several political issues; enrich the knowledge of topics related to various fields and aspects of political sciences with a clear awareness of their main macroeconomic implications
  • Describe and explain the current and future macroeconomic implications of Covid-19
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand and follow more specific and advanced courses in economics and political economy
  • Search, understand and interpret the main macroeconomic data, making comparisons, evaluations and basic predictions
  • Apply the theories and tools analyzed during the course to understand the main macroeconomic issues faced by policy makers
  • Evaluate the main fiscal and monetary policies implemented by governments and central banks
  • Read/listen critically to the main macroeconomic articles/discussions on the media
  • Find the sources to deepen the knowledge on specific macroeconomic issues and data
  • Formulate opinions and reasoning on macroeconomic topics and policies

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Group assignments
  • Exercises: review questions on the various topics are distributed and discussed in class and/or during the teacher's office hours. 
  • Group assignments: 
    • "news groups" will report to the class on the main macroeconomic news dealt with in the international press;
    • "macro statistical groups" will report to the class on specific data related to topics suggested by the teacher, aiming at going deeper into the topics dealt with during lectures.
    • A report (5 pages) will be assigned to each group of 3-5 students to be delivered at the end of the course on the news and data analyzed/topics suggested by the teacher/proposed by students and accepted by the teacher

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • x    
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)
  • x    

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment is based on two main components:

    1. In-class participation and group assignments (max 3 extra points) aimed to test the students’ ability to interact in a constructive way, to think critically and to analize the current Macroeconomic situation and perspective.
    2. Written exam (100% of the final grade), consisting of open questions and possibly multiple-choice questions, aiming at assessing students’ ability to describe the key Macroeconomics concepts illustrated during the course. Students can take a partial written exam and complete the written exam at the end of the course. In this case, the weight is: 50% for the partial exam and 50% for the second partial exam. Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 100% of the final grade.

    Teaching materials
    • Slides/Handouts prepared by the teacher.
    • Some chapters of the following textbook: BLANCHARD, et al., Macroeconomics: a European Perspective, Pearson. 
    • Suggested readings 
    • Exercises
    Last change 14/12/2020 09:54