78271 - Economics in Agro-Industrial Markets

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Roberta Spadoni (Modulo Mod 1) Alessandra Castellini (Modulo Mod 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo Mod 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo Mod 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Marketing and Economics of the agro-industrial system (cod. 8526)

Learning outcomes

The student will be able to know the basics of the economy of agro-industrial production market and in particular the structure and functioning of the economic phases that are downstream of the farm. The student will also acquire relevant information relating to public intervention on production structures and markets.


At the end of the module students should have comprehended the main elements of the dynamic of the agricultural products international economics, the integration forms applied among the countries, the strategies developed on the international markets in order to protect/to open the trade flows (duties, non-tariff barriers, etc.).

Course contents


For this course (module 1 and 2) the student should have a good preparation in the fundamentals of microeconomics and the economy of the farm. The student needs to know the basic concepts of mathematics, statistics and economics.This knowledge is acquired through the teachings of the first and second (first period) year of the course.

Teaching program

The course is divided into two modules:

Module 1 Economics of markets



Unit 1. Economics of Markets (total teaching unit: 26 hours)

1.1. Definition of Supply chain and Stakeholders (2 hours)

1.2. Stages of distribution and Operators (6 hours)

1.3. Modern and Post-modern era: supply and demand characteristics. Porter's five forces analysis. Human needs (6 hours)

1.4. Market services (5 hours)

1.5. Sales systems (3 hours)

1.6. Distribution channels (3 hours)

1.7. Market margin and The integration in the agro-industrial system (1 hours)

Acquired skills in Unit 1

The student will be able to:

a) know the main characteristics of the structure and functioning of the market of agro-industrial products

b)know the type of the operators involved and the specificity of the activities

c) know the dynamics which govern the relations between the operators and the possible modes of interaction

d) analyze supply chains and the creation of value inside them.

Unit 2 . Public control of the agricultural market (total teaching unit: 6 hours)

2.1. Evolution of Common Agriculture Policy

2.2 . Rural development

Acquired skills in Unit 2

The student will be able to:

a) know the reasons at the basis of public intervention in the agricultural market

b) understand the impact that government intervention determines in the market

c) interpret the constraints and opportunities that the agricultural policy determines on market dynamics

Unit 3. The concept of quality and its application in the food system (Total teaching unit: 6 hours)

3.1. Evolution of the concept of quality

3.2. The systems of quality management: definition and models

3.3. Analytical model and dynamic food quality

3.4. Product and System Certifications in the agri-food system

Acquired skills in Unit 3

The student will be able to:

a) know the meaning of the concept of quality, particularly in relation to food products

b) know the theoretical and operational management of quality systems

c) know the characteristics that distinguish the voluntary and mandatory certification, product and system

Unit 4. Practical application and Seminars (total teaching unit 24 hours)

Exercises are organized and jointly carried out by the two teachings of the course in view of the strong integration among the covered topics

4.1. Study visits to agribusiness enterprises

4.2. Practical applications and development of projects

4.3. Seminars and workshops consistent with the topics the course

Skills acquired in Unit 4

The student will be able to:

a) have a proper social-economic approach to strategic problems in agro-industrial enterprises

b) Skills to working groups

Module 2

Teaching Unit 1 (4 hours) -An overview about the world trade

1.1 Explanation of the course structure and contents

1.2 Data and indicators useful to depict the international trade of agrifood products

1.2.1 Harmonised commodity description and coding system (HS nomenclature)

1.2.2 Self-sufficiency balance sheet of Nation

1.2.3 The trade balance sheet of Nation

1.2.4 Incoterms prices

Teaching Unit 2 (5 hours) – The theory of International trade: main concepts

2.1. The theory of international trade: historical framework and evolution of the thought

2.1.1. Adam Smith and trade based on Absolute Advantage

2.2 Comparative Advantage

2.2.1. The law of comparative advantage by D. Ricardo: principles and applications

2.2.2. Comparative advantage and opportunity costs

2.3 The Mill equation of the international demand

2.4 The impact of the transport costs

Teaching unit 3 (5 hours) – The instruments of trade policy

3.1 Protectionism: concepts

3.2 Tariff and non-tariff measures and barriers: definitions, working principles and effects

3.2.1 Duties

3.2.2. Subsidies

3.2.3. Non-trade barriers (quantitative measures, TBT, SPS, others)

3.3 Other trade policy tools

3.3.1. Business connections or international cartels

3.3.2. Dumping

Teaching unit 4 (4 hours) – Basics of the EU trade policy and economic integration

4.1 Notes on the EU trade policy

4.2 Trade agreements

4.2 economic integration models and their impact on trade

4.2.1 trade creation and diversion

Teaching unit 5 (12 hours) – Exercises and seminars

5.1 Analysis of the effects of the most relevant trade policy tools

5.2 Exercises and explanations of theories and concepts in the field of the International Agrifood markets and trade

5.3 Seminars and presentations about International economics main issues


The teacher will provide students specific educational material (in electronic format) which supplements the notes taken during lectures. Educational material will be distributed using Virtuale.

In order to complete and deepen the preparation the following references are recommended:

Module 1

1 - S. Dani, Food Supply Chain Management and Logistics, KoganPage (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12)

2 - Christopher, Martin. Logistics and supply chain management  -- 4th ed.Pearson Education Limited 2011 (available on-line) (chapter 1 and 8)

Module 2

P.R. Krugman, M. Obstfeld, M.J. Melitz, International Economics: Theory and Policy, Global Edition, Ed. Pearson (Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 9, 10)

Dominick Salvatore, International Economics, Ed. Wiley (Chapters: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10)

D.R. Appleyard, A.J. Field jr., International Economics, Ed. McGraw Hill (Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 13)

Occasionally slides and lecture notes

Teaching methods

The Module 1* is divided into four teaching units of which the first three are theoretical and consist of lectures. Lectures provide a close interaction between the teacher and the classroom and are organized in order to stimulate the interest and critical analysis by students through the presentation of case studies. The exercises require the direct involvement of the students who will be able to deal with the dynamics of group work and presentation of the results. The seminars, held by operators of the agro-industrial business, and the study visits will allow the student to deal with the language of such specific working world.

The module 2* is constituted by oral lessons without laboratories. It includes five teaching units: the first explains the general framework of the international trade; the second aims to provide the basic knowledge about the most important theories of the international trade; the fourth deals with protectionism and some trade policy tools; the fourth describes the principles of the EU trade policy and the global movement towards different forms of economic integration. The fifth teaching unit is dedicated to seminars and exercises/applications of topics explained during the lessons.

Seminars about specific issues will take place during the module.

*The lessons will be organized in accordance with the Government's directives and on the basis of the choices made by the Academic Bodies of the University.

Assessment methods

The course is divided in two moduls. Therefore, the evaluation of the course takes into account jointly the level of knowledge and skills acquired by the student in relation to the contents of the two moduls.

The knowledge and skills taught in this course are evaluated in an oral examination (lasting approximately 30 minutes) to assess the learning of the topics covered in the course (5-6 answers). For Module 2, occasionally with exercises.  The final score will be an average of the results obtained in each examination

Students who wish to make the exam in English are allowed to do so if they request it at least one week in advance. For Module 1 the exam is written.

Teaching tools

Whiteboard, projector, computer, internet access. All lessons are carried out showing slides.

Office hours

See the website of Roberta Spadoni

See the website of Alessandra Castellini


Zero hunger Quality education Reduced inequalities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.