Insegnamento a.a. 2016-2017



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/12) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/12) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The course intends to explore the processes of globalization, of divergence/convergence between different areas of the word, and their impact on inequality adopting an historical and non-deterministic perspective. The first part of the course focuses on very long-term dynamics, approximately from the early modern period up until the Industrial Revolution. The intellectual framework of the 'Great Divergence' (leading to the pre-eminence of Europe over the rest of the world) and 'Little Divergence' (leading to the pre-eminence of northern over southern Europe) is adopted, but also critical views are considered. The second part of the course  focuses on more recent developments, from the collapse of global capitalism at the time of World War I, to the construction of a new international economy after World War II, concluding with the great expansion of the late twentieth century and the related consequences for inequality worldwide. The area covered is the whole world, focusing on broad comparisons between macro-areas.

Course Content Summary

  • The First Globalization.
  • The (possible) roots of the Great Divergence and the early rise of Europe over Asia.
  • The Little Divergence within Europe: North vs South.
  • The sources of divergence: social-economic institutions, culture, and demography.
  • Long-term trends in economic inequality and in inequality “extraction rates”.
  • The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence.
  • Europe and Asia compared, before and after the Industrial Revolution.
  • The short Golden Age of Global Capitalism (1896-1914).
  • World War I: the collapse of the established order.
  • World War II: the birth of a new international economy.
  • Falling behind: the case of Africa.
  • The deepening of inequalities across the world.
  • The emergence of a new Global Capitalism in the late twentieth century.
  • Recent developments in international and global economic inequality.
  • Globalization and Inequality – which connection?

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

For attending students:
Assessment is based on two elements:
  1. First element:
    • a partial written exam on the first part of the course and another partial written exam on the second part of the course. Note that the mark obtained for the first partial written exam is not valid after the second written partial exam OR
    • a written exam on the full program for attending students (selected chapters and teaching material on LS).
  2. Second element:
    • a written group project on a topic agreed upon with the instructor.
For non-attending students:
An oral exam on both books (all chapters) and teaching material on LS.


  • K. POMERANZ, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005 (selected chapters only).
  • B. MILANOVIC, Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005 (selected chapters only).
  • Additional material provided by the Instructor.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


There are no specific prerequisites for this course
Last change 21/03/2016 12:31