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Social sciences and humanities



Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Unico
Related or Additional Studies (lesson)
  • TAF: Supplementary compulsory subjects SSD: SECS-P/03 CFU: 9
Teachers: Sergio ALESSANDRINI
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Aula virtuale su Microsoft Teams

Exam type written
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
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1. Knowledge and understanding: The course aims to analyze the reasons and tools of public intervention in the economy with reference to the logic of public choice. The analysis will be carried out with both a positive and normative approach aimed at underlining the importance of the different schools of thought in choosing both the priorities in the objectives to be pursued and the intervention (or non-intervention) tools to pursue them. At the end of the course the student will have acquired knowledge regarding the theories of economic well-being and public intervention on relevant issues in the current socio-economic situation.

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: The student will be able to use the knowledge acquired to analyze and distinguish the criteria of public choices and the methodological aspects of public intervention, the advantages and limitations, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the tools used in public choices. The analysis of cases taken from the current socio-economic reality will be carried out with the aid of appropriate quantitative data and indicators taken from statistics and official documents.

3. Making judgments: Welfare economics is a social science and as such the choices made and the priorities in achieving objectives respond to a plurality of approaches proposed by economic theory, starting from welfare economics conventional to the modern one based on market failures, on opportunistic behavior of economic agents and on the presence of widespread information asymmetries. The student will be able to distinguish the various theoretical approaches and understand the aspects that characterize the presence of the State in a complex economic system. The student will be able to develop critical skills and awareness of judgment.

4. Communication skills: Among its main objectives, the course also has that of making the student acquire an appropriate technical and economic language that can be a useful communication and presentation tool. With the skills acquired, the ability to clearly and unambiguously communicate one's assessments regarding the role of the Welfare State in modern economic systems will be strengthened.

5. Learning skills: The student's learning ability will be built during the course, learning to deepen their knowledge of the conceptual tools and reasoning methods that are the subject of public choices, the science of finance and the economics of well-being, understanding its timing and meaning, in light of the models studied.

Admission requirements

A knowledge of basic concepts of Political Economy is very useful and is, therefore, suggested.

Course contents

The program is developed around the following topics:
1) Basic concepts of welfare economics and public choice, Efficiency in exchange and production, First and Second Welfare Theorems, consequences of Arrow's Theorem.
2) The reasons for public intervention: welfare economics, market failures, public goods theory, externalities, natural monopoly, Arrow's Theorem;
3) The growth of government spending;
4) The welfare state system;
5) Public finance in Italy, the state budget and the Stability Law;
6) The Italian tax system, particularly the personal income, corporate and consumption tax.
7) The public debt

Teaching methods

Classes will be held in-person on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Assessment methods

The examination consists of an oral test covering the entire syllabus In evaluating the examination, the final grade takes into account the following elements: 1. Complete knowledge of all parts of the syllabus. 2. Correctness, rigor and logic in the illustration of theories and analysis of relevant applications. 3. Use of useful tools to appropriately frame relevant theories. 4. Ability to use skills acquired during the course to critically analyze current issues in public finance. 5. Employment of appropriate language

Learning outcomes

The main focus of the course is on public intervention in the economy.
The tools necessary for students to acquire knowledge and skills to identify and discuss the assumptions and limits of the theories of public intervention, collective choices and economic and social welfare are presented.
In addition to studying the interaction and involvement of institutions, the core of these theories is the individual himself, beyond the surface of political structural causal forces. The course includes selected examples of quantitative predictions, hypotheses, best practices and failures in the market and public sector.
The expected objective is to improve the understanding of the methods that lead to public choices and the structural forces that in a market economy lead to the results of public policies. At the end of the course, students will have developed their ability to think and argue in a coherent and logical way about public choices and economic and social policies.


A. Balestrino – E. Galli – L. Spataro, Scienza delle Finanze, Terza Edizione, Utet Università, Torino, 2023.