Course 2021-2022 a.y.


Department of Economics

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 24
PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 24 (II sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


How do politics and economics together shape our society? This course is designed to give students an interdisciplinary framework to understand a broad range of important challenges of policymakers and politics. The course starts by outlining the interplay between political and economic institutions and how these can be evaluated using empirical research. Afterwards, the course examines different policy objectives and how politicians weigh them against each other based on their incentives. This provides a natural transition to the topics of populism, political polarization and conflict the course studies next. Lastly, the course will discuss the political effects of social media and discrimination.


  1. Interpersonal Utility Comparison (Carlo Schwarz)
  2. Politics/Politicians/Ideology (Carlo Schwarz)
  3. Lobbying (Carlo Schwarz)
  4. Efficiency: Behaviroul Biases and Addiction (Carlo Schwarz)
  5. Efficiency: Market Power (Carlo Schwarz)
  6. Efficiency: Negative Externalities (Carlo Schwarz)
  7. Equality: Theories of Justice (Carlo Schwarz)
  8. The Rise of Populism (Guido Tabellini)
  9. Behavioral Political conomics (Guido Tabellini)
  10. Equality: Discrimination (Carlo Schwarz)
  11. Conflict (Carlo Schwarz)
  12. Social Media (Carlo Schwarz)

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Explain the underlying incentives of policymakers and how they shape policy
  • Describe different aims of policy and how they can be in conflict with each other.
  • Describe the determinants of the rise of populism, polarization and conflict.
  • Recognize the changes social media can bring to a political system.
  • Illustrate the different ways discrimination can arise in a society.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Analyze political decision based on the theoretical framework of political economy
  • Evaluate the validity of empirical political research
  • Assess how politicians’ incentives influence economic policies
  • Critically weight different policy objectives against each other
  • Argue for or against specific policies
  • Discuss the determinants of the rise of populism and its consequences.
  • Hypothesize about the future impact of social media 
  • Demonstrate the presence of discrimination in different parts of society

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures


The learning experience of this course includes face-to-face lectures by the instructors. In addition, students are also asked to prepare one group presentation on a research paper. These presentations are used to introduce students to the critical evaluation of empirical research and the contribution of papers to the scientific literature. Further, the presentations are intended to stimulate discussions about the topics discussed in class. This will allow the students to share their views and their insights on current political issues.

Assessment methods

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


The assessment method for students is based on a group presentation ( in class) and a final written exam.


The group presentation will be assigned at the beginning of term and will account for 20% of the grade. 


The written exam is based on open questions. It covers all topics covered in class. The open questions are aimed to assess students’ ability to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes. The exam accounts for 80% of the grade.


Alternatively, students can take a partial written exam and complete the written exam at the end of the course. The first partial exam focuses on the material covered in the first part of the course. The second partial exam focuses on the material covered in the second part of the course. In this case, the weight is 40% for the first partial exam and 40% for the second partial exam.


The assessment method for non-attending students is based on a final written exam. As for the case of attending students, the written exam contains open questions. It covers all topics analyzed during the course and it accounts for a maximum of 30 points.

Teaching materials


Teaching materials are announced before the start of the course and indicated or uploaded to the Bboard platform.

Last change 21/12/2021 08:57