85489 - Political Economy of Mediterranean Countries

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paolo Zagaglia

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SECS-P/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Course Timetable from Nov 12, 2019 to Dec 12, 2019

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing an understanding of the economic systems of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, through the analysis of their process of development and of their recent performance. The student should be able, at the end of the course, to use the acquired knowledge to the study of the economies of the different countries, to understand the peculiar issue that characterize the area, to evaluate policies implemented during the last decades to copy with the development process and to suggest policy recommendation.

Course contents

COURSE OUTLINE

 

Lecture 1

The centrality of the Mediterranean region

1.0 Productivity as the source of economic growth

1.1 Fragmentation vs common patterns

1.2 Fragmentation and international income convergence

 

Lecture 2

The centrality of the Mediterranean region

1.3 The dynamics of productivity across the Mediterranean

1.3.1 The role of demand and supply factors

1.3.2 Empirical evidence

 

Lecture 3

The centrality of the Mediterranean region

1.4 Trade patterns and the international distribution of their benefits

1.5 Human development and economic convergence

1.6 The divergence in growth trajectories: A framework for interpretation

 

Lecture 4

Demographics of Mediterranean countries

2.1 A long-term view on demographic change

2.1.1 A century of population growth

2.2 Trends for age and sex structure

 

Lecture 5

Demographics of Mediterranean countries

2.2.1 Load measures

2.3 Fertility

2.4 Mortality

2.5 The emergence of population aging

2.6 Population aging vs baby boom: A perspective on the macroeconomic impact

 

Lecture 6

Poverty, inequality and development across the Mediterranean region

3.1 A non-inclusive growth model for the Mediterranean

3.2 The relation between economic growth, inequality and poverty

3.3 Structural factors in the interpretation of inequality and poverty trends in North Africa

3.3.1 Poverty and inequality

3.3.2 Population growth, lack of employment and agglomeration economies

 

Lecture 7

Structural change in the labour markets of Mediterranean countries

4.1 An overview of the labour market features

4.2 Structural change, demographic dynamics and unemployment

4.2.1 Decomposition of the variation of youth employment

4.2.2 Discussion of the empirical results

 

Lecture 8

International trade and competitiveness across the Mediterranean countries

5.1 Stylized facts

5.2 Market size and competitiveness in the Mediterranean countries

5.3 Trade openness of Mediterranean countries

 

Lecture 9

International trade and migrants' skills across the Mediterranean region

6.1 Migrants' networks and international trade

6.2 The relation between migration and trade flows in the Mediterranean

6.3 The role of vertical specialization in terms of traded goods quality

6.3.1 Outline of empirical application: a gravity model approach

 

Lecture 10

Economic integration and foreign direct investment across the Mediterranean

7.1 Investment performance and the challenges of 'Arab Springs'

7.2 FDI's across the Arab countries

7.3 Foreign direct investments by sector

Readings/Bibliography

The students who do not attend the course should refer to the following textbook:

Economic Development in the Middle East and North Africa, by Mohamed Sami Ben Ali, ISBN: 978-1-349-55918-3 (Print) 978-1-137-48066-8 (Online), 2016, Palgrave Macmillan US.

Only the following book chapters are of interest: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9.

Copies of the textbook will be available at the library of the University of Bologna. In addition, the textbook is also available in pdf form from online sources.

The students who attend the course will have access to a detailed set of lecture notes prepared that cover all the topics discussed during the lectures.

The lecture notes will be made available by the lecturer at the beginning of the course.

The students who will not take part to the lectures are not required to study the lecture notes.

Teaching methods

The course will consist in a set of three-hour lectures.

The classes will provide the opportunity both to facilitate the interaction between the lecturer and the students, and to stimulate the debate among students themselves. In this sense, class attendance is critical to take full advantage from an in-depth discussion on the course topics.

Assessment methods

FOR THE STUDENTS WHO DO NOT ATTEND THE LECTURES:

The exam for the students who will not take part to the course will be based on chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 of the textbook ‘Economic Development in the Middle East and North Africa’.

The assessment will be based on a limited number of questions on the topics discussed in the textbook chapters.

The final grade will consist in the simple average (i.e., the mean) of the grades obtained from each answer.

The following grading criteria will be applied to every answer:

  • consistency (i.e., whether an answer does reply to the specific question at hand)
  • relevance (i.e., how deeply an answer addresses the core point of a question)
  • completeness (i.e., whether all the important points are discussed by an answer)
  • logic (i.e., whether an answer outlines the reasoning that stands behind it, or why a certain answer is provided)

A deep understanding of the topics dealt with in the textbook, coupled with a sense critical reasoning, an effort to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic and to explain the economic reasoning for an answer will lead to a final mark within the range 27-30 with honors.

A demonstration of learning-by-heart attitude to the topics, along with a unsatisfactory evidence of logical reasoning limited efforts to discuss both the relevant aspects of a topic, and to explain the economic reasoning will be evaluated with a mark in the range of 21-26.

A limited understanding of the book topics, coupled with below-average logical skills, inconsistent efforts both to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic and to explain the economic reasoning will lead to a mark in the range of 18-20.

A complete lack of understanding about the book topics, inadequate logical skills and the demonstration that there are no efforts to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic will lead to a fail mark.

FOR THE STUDENTS WHO ATTEND THE LECTURES

The exam for the students who attend the lectures will be based on:

a) the preparation of a fifteen-page term paper. Detailed guidelines will be provided by the lecturer at the beginning of the course.

b) a fifteen-minute public presentation and discussion of the term paper.

The students will be free to choose their paper topic, provided that this falls within the reasonable domain of the political economy of Mediterranean countries.

Final grading decisions will be taken after the paper presentation.

The grades will be based on a simple average of scores achieved for each of the following assessment criteria:

  • compliance: are the guidelines set out by the lecturer followed by the author?
  • clarity: are the main points of the paper well understandable?
  • rationality: how `rational' is the logic structure of the reasoning developed in the paper?
  • completeness: does the paper contain attempts at discussing interpretations that are different from the ones endorsed by the author?
  • relevance: is the paper a mere collection of figures/tables that have little to do with the main point of the paper itself?
  • willingness to get to a clear point: are the statements well defined and crafted in a precise way?

A deep understanding of the topic tackled in the paper, evidence of critical reasoning, an effort to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic and to explain the economic intuition will lead to a final mark within the range 27-30 with honors.

A demonstration of mild understanding about the paper topic, along with a unsatisfactory evidence of logical reasoning limited efforts to discuss both the relevant aspects of a topic, and to explain the economic reasoning will be evaluated with a mark in the range of 21-26.

A limited understanding of the paper topic, coupled with below-average logical skills, inconsistent efforts both to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic and to explain the economic reasoning will lead to a mark in the range of 18-20.

Evidence of a complete lack of understanding about the topic, inadequate logical skills and the demonstration that there are no efforts to discuss the relevant aspects of a topic will lead to a fail mark.

NOTE

For any questions or additional information, the students are welcome to get in touch with the lecturer by email.

Teaching tools

The students who attend the course will be provided with both lecture notes, and a set of slides for each lecture topic.

These materials will be made available through a Slack channel set up by the lecturer at the beginning of the course.

The availability of a Slack channel will also make it easier for the students to interact directly with the lecturer in case any relevant questions or issues about the course arise.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Zagaglia