Info
Foto sezione
Logo Bocconi

Course 2020-2021 a.y.

20633 - WELFARE AND POLITICS

Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English


Go to class group/s: 31

CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - GIO (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DSBA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - PPA (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - FIN (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:
VINCENZO GALASSO

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: VINCENZO GALASSO


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

Welfare States and their programs differ widely across countries and – within the same country – also over time. For instance, in 2001, France had a welfare state expenditure equal to 30.5 % of GDP, while the US spent only 19.1%. This course studies the economic and political underpinning of the welfare policies. We use economic principles and political analysis to develop a conceptual framework for investigating government intervention in the market, with a specific focus on the welfare state.

CONTENT SUMMARY

To what extent should the government take care of individual risks by setting up public programs, such as pensions, health care, education, labor market and migration policies? How much and how should the government intervene in the case of global shock, such as COVID-19 pandemic? What is the relation between welfare policies and populism?

These questions may have a normative answer, provided by public economics, and a positive one, offered by political economics. We will address them in the first part of the course.

In the second part of the course, students will be required to develop their own economic and political analysis of an issue, and to design a policy, which is both economically sound and politically feasible. The issues to be analyzed will include policy response to the economic effects of COVID-19, pension and retirement, health care, education, labor market and globalization, and gender. These policies will be discussed in class.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify the political incentives faced by the policymakers in taking their policy decisions.
  • Explain how different demographic, economic and political features of a society contribute to shape these political incentives, and thereby the resulting welfare states.
  • Recognize the institutional and cultural determinants of economic policy-making.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Analyze the determinants of the existing public policies.
  • Evaluate the programs of the welfare states and their weakness.
  • Predict the dynamic evolution of the existing public policies as a function of the expected demographic, economic and political trends.
  • Design welfare state policies that combine economic rationality and political feasibility.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
DETAILS
  • In addition to face-to-face lectures and class discussions, the course also includes one or more guest speakers by journalists and current or past policy-makers aimed at obtaining an inside perspective on the process of design and implementation of public policies.
  • Class activities are used to mimic the design and implementation of public policies. Students are assigned to different roles. For instance, in a discussion of pension reforms, a group of students play the role of the Finance Ministry, another of the Labor Ministry and another of the unions in the committee discussing the policy reform. Each group has as an assigment to draft a detailed policy proposal. Individual assignments are given to single students in each group, consisting of writing a short executive summary (or press release) of the proposal, of providing a short presentation to the committee discussing the policy reform, and of leading the discussion and negotiation in the committee. 

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    
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment  includes a written exam.

    • The exam consists of critical assessments of true/false statements and open questions. These exam’s tools aim at assessing students’ ability to solve and explain political economic models of the welfare state, to discuss whether statements are true or false, and to show critical thinking and political-economic reasoning to discuss policy scenarios in open questions.
    • To assess their ability to design a policy, discuss its implication and negotiate with the opposing parties, the students’ assessment also includes group assignment and class participation, as well as individual assignment  - related to the group assignment - to better evaluate the individual ability and effort.
    • Individual assignments, group assignments and active class participation account for 40% of the final grade. The exam(s) is account for the remaining 60%.
    • Students can take a partial written exam and complete the written exam at the end of the course. In this case the weight is:
      • 30% for the partial exam.
      • 30% for the partial end of term exam.
    • Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 60% of the final grade.
    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the students’ assessment  includes a written exam.

    • The exam consists of critical assessments of true/false statements and open questions. These exam’s tools aim at assessing students’ ability to solve and explain political economic models of the welfare state, to discuss whether statements are true or false, and to show critical thinking and political-economic reasoning to discuss policy scenarios in open questions.
    • 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.
    • 50% for the partial end of term exam.

    Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 100% of the final grade.


    Teaching materials
    ATTENDING STUDENTS
    • GALASSO, Political Economics, Redistributive Policies, Bocconi University Press, 2017.
    • Slides and additional scientific papers are uploaded on the Bboard platform.
    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
    • GALASSO, Political Economics, Redistributive Policies, Bocconi University Press, 2017.
    • PERSSON, TABELLINI, Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, MIT Press, 2000 (ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6).
    • Slides and additional scientific papers are uploaded on the Bboard platform.
    Last change 02/09/2020 13:00