Course 2021-2022 a.y.


Department of Finance

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/11) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - DSBA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11) - FIN (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/11)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

Students attending this course are expected to be familiar with the basic concepts of financial markets and institutions.

Mission & Content Summary


By applying theory to practice, the course aims to: - Review the conceptual framework for analysing the role of financial systems and comparing them across countries and over time. In particular, we discuss the main channels of intermediation (banks vs. financial markets) and the link between credit and growth. The discussion hinges on theoretical and historical analysis and look at the main characteristics of the modern financial system. - Describe the structural changes of the global financial system in the last decades (the “great leveraging”, the “securitisation and the shadow banking system”, the “new financial intermediation”) and discuss their role in the financial crisis. - Discuss the flaws in the evolution of the financial systems (the “fault lines” according to an important book of Raghuram Rajan) and their relationship with the mainstream economic theory. - Examine the reaction of financial systems to the global financial crisis. - As far as Europe is concerned, examine the challenges faced by European banks since the euro sovereign crisis and, more recently, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The course is divided in four parts:

  1. The theoretical framework (role of the financial system; fundamental literature on comparing financial systems).
  2. Stylized facts of the evolution of the main financial systems before and particularly after the crisis.
  3. Anatomy of a crisis (the three waves in US and Europe; the main causes of the crisis; a focus on Europe and in particular on the link between the sovereign debt and the banking crisis).
  4. The crisis and the strategic issues for the future of the main banking systems: financial issues (in particular the rise of non-performing loans) and economic issues (low profitability in a scenario of low interest rates; the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify and discuss the main problems that financial intermediaries face when operating in different economic and historical conditions. They will be able to :
    • Recognize and describe the main characteristics of a financial system.
    • Summarize main determinants of the global financial and the euro sovereign crises.
    • Identify the main policy responses to recent crises (from the global financial crisis to the pandemic crisis)
    • Explain what is the outlook at the beginning of 2022 for the main European banks.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Critically interpret relevant stylized facts related to main trends in banking over the last decade.
  • Compare financial systems and institutions across jurisdictions and explain  why structural characteristics differ across countries and over time.
  • Illustrate  the impact of the global financial and the euro sovereign crises, and comment on the characteristics and criticisms of the regulatory responses to these crises.
  • Illustrate the main consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the supervisory and regulatory measures  to cope with it.
  • Formulate hypotheses, design and develop, as well as present and defend, individual essays.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments


Frontal lectures are complemented with guest speakers' talks as well as individual  assignments held by students on relevant topics agreed upon with the instructors. Students are advised to get familiar with the main international newspapers and magazines, such as “The Economist”, “Financial Times”, and “The Wall Street Journal”. Relevant news will be commented during classes.

Assessment methods

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


Students will be asked to choose between the following exam options: (1) final written general exam; (2) individual assignment + oral presentation (in presence or in virtual mode, depending on the Covid-19 related restrictions).


The final general exam will cover the entire course contents and will be made of a set of open and multiple choice questions.The individual assignment will be on a topic agreed upon with the instructors. 


Exam options are structured in a way to enable the assessment of multiple skills, e.g., qualitative and critical abilities, as those required to interpret relevant stylized facts, compare financial systems and institutions across jurisdictions, and comment on the implications of certain policy measures. In particular, the individual assignment will enable to test students' written and oral capabilities , e.g., how to formulate and develop hypotheses, how to present and defend a project work.


Continuous assessment: Students are also given the possibility to gain extra-points by completing short individual notes based on reading, press releases, and incidents chosen by the instructors.


Details on all the assessment methods will be made available in B-B.

Teaching materials


The course material is made of instructors' slides and a selection of academic and institutional papers. The list of the required material will be detailed at the beginning of the course and made available in Bboard. 

Last change 20/12/2021 15:55