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Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 21 - 22

BIEF (2 credits - II sem. - OB)
Course Director:

Classes: 21 (II sem.) - 22 (II sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza

Mission & Content Summary

One legacy of the present globalization is the fragmentation of the notion of “capitalism” into several national and supra-national models. Since 1989, Capitalism is no longer considered as a “monolith”, but as a way of organizing the economic activity, both at the macro-level, and at the micro one. Different models of capitalism characterize different areas of the World, and different models of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Main purpose of the seminar is to convey practical knowledge about how large companies are shaped and organized in different capitalist systems, in order to help students to orientate themselves in the very complex variety of business systems around the World.


The seminar focuses on the “varieties of capitalism” approach to the study of modern societies, examining the role of history and culture in shaping the institutions which superintend to the business sector, among which those determining the ownership and governance structures of the companies themselves.

  • The “varieties of Capitalism” approach: a taxonomy of market economies around the world.
  • Varieties of capitalism and the “social structuring" of firms’ governance systems.
  • Liberal Market Economies: The Anglo-Saxon model.
  • Coordinated Market Economies: Continental Europe and Japan.
  • Hierarchical Market Economies: Latin America.
  • State capitalism: Russia and China.
  • Global companies and the hybridization of Corporate Governance.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Be familiar with the diversity of modern capitalist institutions.
  • Be familiar with current debates about different varieties of capitalism.
  • Understand different national models of capitalism and their consequences for economic welfare and political representation.
  • Understand whether globalization undermined differences between models of capitalism.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the "varieties of capitalism" literature.
  • Critically assess the debates about institutions and economic performance.
  • Explain how strategies and structures of firm are shaped by economic and non-economic institutions.
  • Apply appropriate essay/report writing skills.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments

The learning experience in this course includes, in addition to lectures and class discussions, an individual assignment in which students are required to write an essay of minimum 1500 words. Students are required to answer some critical questions starting from recent newspaper or economic magazine articles and to develop an argument using relevant literature sources, including scientific journals and internet databases.

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

    Students' assessment is based on an individual essay assignment (100% of the final grade) of maximum 1500 words that students submit in the second half of the term. The assignment aims to test the knowledge of modern capitalist institutions and the main historical features of different national models of capitalism as well as the ability of students to synthesise narrative interpretations discussed in economic newspapers and scientific journal articles, to recognise links between them and topics of the class discussions, and to construct an argument based on the evidence collected.


    Students' assessment is based on a written exam (100% of the final grade). The exam consists of: 

    1. Multiple-choice questions, aimed to test the basic knowledge of the "varieties of capitalism" literature and of the debates about the relationship between institutions and economic performance.
    2. Open-ended questions, aimed to assess students' ability to evalute how strategies and structures of firms are shaped by a given institutional framework.

    Teaching materials

    Suggested readings:

    • P.A.HALL, D. SOSKICE, An Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism, in B. Hancke (ed.), “Debating Varieties of Capitalism”, OUP, 2009.
    • R. LA PORTA, F. LOPEZ DE SILANES, A. SHLEIFER, Corporate Governance around the World, Journal of Finance, 1999, (pp. 471-517).
    • P. GHEMAWAT, T.M. HOUT, Differences in Business Ownership and Governance around the World, Globalization Note Series.
    • G. JACKSON, Understanding Corporate Governance in United States, 2010.
    • B.R. SCHNEIDER, Hierarchical Market Economies and Varieties of Capitalism in Latin America.
    • B. BLACK, A. GLEDSON DE CARVALHO, E. GORGA, Corporate governance in Brazil,  Emerging Markets Review 1, 2010, (pp.  21–38).
    • D. FRIEL, Towards a Variety of Capitalism Approach for Latin America: The Impact of Institutions on Firm Behavior in Argentina.
    • D.C. CLARKE, Corporate governance in China: An overview, China Economic Review, 2003, (pp. 494-507).
    • R. ENIKOLOPOV, S. SERGEY STEPANOV, Corporate Governance in Russia, in Handbook of the Russian Economy, Michael Alexeev and Shlomo, Weber (eds.), Oxford University Press.
    • G.N. GREGORIO, L. RENNEBOOG (eds), Corporate governance convergence trough cross-border mergers: the case of Aventis, in “Corporate Governance and Regulatory Impact on Mergers and Acquisitions”, Elsevier.
    Last change 29/05/2019 22:20