Insegnamento a.a. 2022-2023


Department of Economics

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 23
BIG (8 credits - II sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (II sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza

Suggested background knowledge

To feel comfortable in this course, you should be familiar with the optimization techniques learned in math and microeconomic courses.

Mission & Content Summary


Economic policies differ widely across countries and – within the same country – even over time. Among OECD countries, government expenditure ranges from less than 40% in the US to almost 60% in Finland. What explains these large differences? The many tools provided by economic theory generally fail to offer a complete and satisfactory answer to this question. The course mission is to analyze the determinants of economic policy in modern democracies and to show how these policies may differ according to the different political institutions in place.


The course provides an introduction to modern political economic

  1. The first part introduces the tools.
  2. The second part compares the welfare states across industrialized countries, with special emphasis on the pension systems and the labor market, and discusses the political feasibility of structural reforms. It also addresses the differences in economic policies that may arise from the political institutions, with particular emphasis on the analysis of the electoral rule and of the regime type.
  3. The third part analyzes dynamic policies – public debt, economic growth – in a political economy framework to understand how political incentives shape current and future policies.
  4. The last part addresses the debate between the role of culture and institutions in shaping economic growth.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify the different electoral and 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 economic policies.
  • Recognize the institutional and cultural determinants of economic policy-making.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Analyze the determinants of the existing public policies.
  • Predict the dynamic evolution of the existing public policies as a function of the expected demographic, economic and political trends.
  • Design public policies that combine economic rationality and political feasibility.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)


  • In addition to face-to-face lectures and to class discussions on hot topics (economic reforms, migration), the Problem Sets assigned to students throughout the course is discussed and solved in class. These Problem Sets allow students to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course and to solve political economic models.
  • 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.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x


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

  • The exam consists of analytical exercises, 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, to use the analytical tools illustrated during the course 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 and 50% for the end of term exam.
  • Alternatively, students can take a final written exam that accounts for 100% of the final grade.

Teaching materials


  • V. GALASSO, Political Economics, Redistributive Policies, Bocconi University Press, 2017. 
  • Slides and additional scientific papers are uploaded on the Bboard platform.
Last change 19/12/2022 14:43