96681 - Principles of Agricultural Economics

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with the basic theoretical tools to analyse the main dynamics of the economic system. Lectures will focus on the main principles related the behaviour of economic agents, to the functioning of markets and to the use and management of natural resources. the discussion of economic theories will be joined with the illustration of case studies applied to the agro-food sector.

Course contents


1. Introduction and aims of the course

  • The economic science: subject, aims and methods.
  • The evolution of the economics theories
  • The economic system

2. Elements of microeconomics

  • Market: definitions, forms, mechanisms, comparative static analysis.
  • Demand theory: Engel's law, demand determinants and law, consumer's surplus
  • Supply theory: business aims, industry and level choices, supply and conditioning factors, firm's surplus
  • Legal forms of business

3. Introduction to Macroeconomics

  • Objectives of macroeconomics
  • National accounting, macroeconomics variables, and equitable and sustainable well-being measurements
  • Inflation rate, interest rate, and unemployment rate

Individual/Group in-class exercises

Learning outcomes: students will gain the knowledge of the major elements of economic science; they will know the main drivers of the consumers' and businesses' decision-making process and understand the market dynamics with special reference to the agri-food systems; they will possess main concepts and elements of macroeconomics.


4. Welfare Economics

  • Efficiency and equity
  • Market failures

5. Environmental Economics

  • Environmental economics and the common
  • Spillovers; market and environment; the environmental Kuznets curve
  • Sustainable development: definitions and aims
  • The EU environmental strategies and agro-environmental policies

Individual/Group in-class exercises

Learning outcomes: students will understand the origin of the environmental challenges and opportunities and will be capable to evaluate the economic implications that green economy and sustainability imply for consumers and businesses; design and develop strategies for competitive and eco-friendly activities of public and private organizations; design, implement and manage R&D projects based on sustainable criteria.


6. Agriculture and Forest Economics

  • Introduction to Agriculture and Forest Economics: evaluating, classifying and measuring agricultural and forest resources
  • Supply and demand of agricultural and forest products/services
  • Long term investment decisions: discount and interest rates, capital carryover, depreciation and reintegration changes, annuity, periodicity or poliannuality
  • Investment analysis: business plan, cost and benefit analysis and introduction to accounting
  • Supplementary class: principles of marketing and forest certification
  • Supplementary class: Public environmental accounting of agricultural and forest resources

Individual/Group in-class exercises

Learning outcomes: students will apply the concepts of Unit 1 and 2 in a series of case studies, familiarising with the agricultural and forestry sectors. They will also understand the main techniques in use to evaluate agro-forestry resources both in the short and long term. Finally, students will be able to apprise the specificities of agricultural and forest institutions and companies and critically analyse their investment and marketing choices.


Varian H. R., Microeconomia, Cafoscarina, Venezia 2007 (sections 1, 14, 15, 21 e 22);

N.G. Mankiw, M.P. Taylor, Principi di Economia, Zanichelli, 2015, Settima edizione italiana o edizioni precedenti (except for sections 9, 12, from 24 to 26, from 30 to 38)

Turner K., Pearce D., Bateman I., Economia ambientale, Il Mulino, Bologna 2003 (sections 1, 2, 5, 10, 12 e 14);

Bernetti I., Romano S., Economia delle risorse forestali, Liguori, 2007 (Volume 1 – Parte prima: sections 1, 2,3,4; Volume 1 – Parte seconda: capp. 1; Volume 2 – Parte terza: capp. 1, 2,3,7 8)

Didactic material: https://virtuale.unibo.it (with further references and webography).

Teaching methods

Front loaded and active learning methodologies; group and individual exercises; seminars.

Assessment methods

Knowledge and skills will be evaluated through an oral exam (indicatively, 3 arguments in about 45 minutes).

Regular class attendance will offer the opportunity to alternatively take a written exam (5 arguments, 60 minutes).

Teaching tools

Laptop and beamer

Office hours

See the website of Marco Setti

See the website of Valentino Marini Govigli