81531 - Economic Inequality and Sustainability

Course Unit Page


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

No poverty Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the successful student has acquired a working knowledge of the basic issues, both technical and theoretical, regarding the definition and measuring of economic inequality. S/he is also acquainted with the main issues concerning the connection between inequality amd sustainability, with particular emphasis on economic performance in the short and in the long run.

Course contents

  1. Introduction: General perspectives on economic development and income distribution: stylized facts, comparative analysis, and theoretical approaches.

  2. Basic tools and ideas: (a) sustainability; (b) measurement: inequality and poverty.

  3. Applications and case studies: (a) Global inequality; (b) Distribution, redistribution and growth; (c) Poverty traps; (d) Polarization and conflict.


Some background knowledge of basic micro and macro theory (at the undergraduate level) is highly recommended. Useful general material for the course is provided by P.J.Lambert, The Distribution and Redistribution of Income, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2001; M.P.Todaro and S.C.Smith, Economic Development, Addison-Wesley, Boston, 2012. Further references and a list of readings will be provided in class.

Teaching methods

This is a taught course with lectures.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of a written test. Students are not allowed to bring books, personal notes or electronic devices, and are required to register in advance for the exam through AlmaEsami according to the general rules of the School of Economics and Management. Grading is on a 30 point basis: 30 max (plus distinction), minimum pass grade 18/30. Depending on the number and willingness of students, classwork and students presentations may be organized, the assessment of which will be worth up to one third of the final grade.

Teaching tools

Most lectures will involve topics presentation by the teacher and class discussions. Handouts will be available for students.

Office hours

See the website of Corrado Benassi