78271 - Economics in Agro-Industrial Markets

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Quality education Reduced inequalities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2019/2020

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

Teaching program

The course is divided into two modules:

Module 1 Economics of markets



1. Economics of Markets (total teaching unit: 24 hours)

1.1. Characteristics of the market of agro-industrial products (5 hours)

1.2. Functions of the market (1 hour)

1.3. Market services (5 hours)

1.4. Operators (1 hour)

1.5. Sales systems (2 hours)

1.6. The integration in the agro-industrial system (2 hours)

1.7. Stages of distribution (6 hours)

1.8. Distribution channels (1 hours)

1.9. Innovation channels (1 hour)

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.

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

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

4.1. Evolution of the concept of quality

4.2. The systems of quality management: definition and models

4.3. Analytical model and dynamic food quality

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

Acquired skills in Unit 4

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

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

3.1. Study visits to agribusiness enterprises

3.2. Practical applications and development of projects

3.3. 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 (8 hours) – An overview about the world trade; main theories about international trade: principles and development

1.1. Explanation of the course structure and contents

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

1.3. Initial theories about international trade

1.4. The concept of comparative advantage

1.5. The Mill equation of the international demand

1.6. Transport costs

1.7. Incoterms and international prices

Teaching unit 2 (6 hours) – The instruments of trade policy

2.1 Protectionism: concepts

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

2.3 Other trade policy instruments (dumping, business connections or international cartels)

Teaching unit 3 (4 hours) – Forms of economic integration

3.1 Notes on the EU trade policy

3.2 Trade agreements dimensions and types

3.2 International negotiations and trade policy

Teaching unit 4 (12 hours) – Exercises and seminars4.1 Application and presentation about the mst important trade policy tools

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

4.3 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.

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

Module 1

1 - Messori Flavio e Ferretti Fabrizio (2010), Economia del mercato agroalimentare, Ed. Edagricole, Bologna

Module 2

1. Krugman P.R., Obstfeld M., Melitz M. “International economics. Theory& Policy”, Harlow, Pearson. 2018.

2. Dominick Salvatore “Economia internazionale – teoria e politiche del commercio internazionale”, RCS Libri SpA, 2016

Occasionally slides and lecture notes

Teaching methods

The Module 1 is divided into three teaching units of which the first two 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 is constituted by oral lessons without laboratories. It includes four teaching units: the first is focussed on the main theories about the international trade, the second and the third deal with the protectionism, the economic integration and their effect, the fourth is dedicated to seminars and exercises.

Seminars about some particular and interesting issues will take place during the module.

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 different ways (the student will chose one of the following):

• The first option, only for students attending lessons, consists of a one hour written test, given at the end of all lessons. The test, in the part relating to this teaching, will consist of 12 questions, differently weigthed (the majority are multiple choice answers and some are open-ended questions). The assessment takes into account the general trend of the test.

• The second option (for Module 1 and 2) consists of 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.

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