96541 - Principles of Economics and Economics of the Firm

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Alessandra Castellini (Modulo Mod 1) Davide Viaggi (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. 5833)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows the basic notions related to economic theory, both micro and macro, necessary to access more complex topics. In particular, he acquires knowledge of the behaviour of supply and demand, market structures and the basic macro-indicators useful to comprehend the economic system dynamic.

He is also informed about the basic elements of the nature and types of enterprise, as well as microeconomic tools for analysing entrepreneurial decisions.

Course contents


Unit 1 (2 hours) Introduction: the economic science, micro- and macroeconomics definition and issues. Tools of economic analysis.

Unit 2 (12 hours) Microeconomics - Demand theory

2.1 Demand, supply and the market

2.2 Elasticity of demand and supply

2.3 Consumer's choice elements and demand decision

Unit 3 (10 hours) Microeconomics - markets and competition

3.1 Market structure: perfect competition, pure monopoly and imperfect competition

Unit 4 (4 hours) Public economics

4.1 Taxation and Government spending.

Unit 5 (8 hours) Macroeconomics

5.1 Introduction and Issues. GDP definition and calculation; macroeconomic circular flow; national income accounting.

5.2 Inflation rate; unemployment rate.

Unit 6 (24 hours) Seminars and exercises



1. Course introduction (total didactic unit: 1 hours)

1.1. Illustration of the course organisation and of the modalities for the final exam

1.2. Illustration of the fields of use of the knowledge and capabilities acquired

Competences acquired unit 1

a) The student knows the aim of the course and is able to locate the contents of the various units in a lerning pathway.

2. The firm in the economic system (total didactic unit: 3 hours)

2.1 Elements of history and structure of the agriculture and agri-industrial sector

2.2 Role and nature of the firm

2.3 Functioning principles of the firm

Competences acquired unit 2

a) The student knows the agro-industrial firm and its institutional nature

b) The student is able to understand the relationship between the firm and the other actors of the economic systems

3. Production economics applied to agriculture (total didactic unit 12 hours)

3.1. The production function and the economic optimum in agriculture

3.1.1. Relationship factor-product

3.1.2. Relationship factor-factor

3.1.3. Relationship product-product

3.1.4. Costs functions and the production decisions

3.2 Economics of agricultural production factors

3.2.1. Land

3.2.2. Labour

3.2.3. Capital

Competences acquired unit 3

a) The student knows the basic theoretical aspects of production economics applied to agriculture

b) The students understands and is able to interpret the decisoin-making processes concerning the use of farm/firm resources

4. Risk and uncertainty (total didactic hours 3)

4.1 Definition of riks and uncertainty

4.2 Applications to decision-making problems in agro-industry

Competences acquired unit 4

Simplified knowledge of how entreprenours act to reduce risks

5. Productivity, efficiency and innovation (total didactic unit 3 hours)

5.1 Measure of productivity

5.2 Measure of efficiency

5.3 The mechanisms of innovation

Competences acquired unit 5

a) The student knows the basic theoretical aspects of economics of investment and innovation

b) The student understands and is able to intepret the decision-making processes concerning investment and innovation

6. Classes (total didactic unit 9 hours)

6.1 Search of the optimal use of a production factor

6.2 Search for the optimal combination of input

6.3 Search for the optimal combination of output

6.4 Search for the optimal production level

Competences acquired unit 6

a) Ability to solve simple numerical problems related to the course

b) Ability to use the basic computer instruments to develop simple economic applications

c) Understanding of the practical implications of the subjects studied in the course




Main book

Begg D. Vernasca G., Fischer S., Dornbusch R. (2014). Economics. McGraw-Hill

Lecture notes and materials recommended by the teacher.


Book/materials specifically suggested from the teacher on demand.

Teaching methods

Lectures and case studies.

The course include 6 teaching units: introduction in the 1st; the last one is dedicated to seminars and exercises in classroom.


“As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] on Health and Safety online”.

Assessment methods

Final exam is oral and it covers both the parts of the course.

Teaching tools

Whiteboard, projector, pc.


Office hours

See the website of Alessandra Castellini

See the website of Davide Viaggi


Quality education Decent work and economic growth Responsible consumption and production

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