75575 - Economics of Welfare

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Corrado Benassi

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SECS-P/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Rimini

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development (cod. 8839)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 19, 2022 to Oct 24, 2022


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

Good health and well-being Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course provides the basic theoretical models which can be used to define economic welfare, to provide adequate measures thereof, and to assess the welfare effects of policy choices. Specific applications will be discussed with reference to the welfare implications of sustainability issues, including the definition of welfare indices, taxation, poverty, and social discount rates.

Course contents

  1. Introduction: General perspectives on the economics of welfare (positive and normative ideas, utilitarianism and beyond, economics and justice, economics of happiness); welfare and economic welfare.

  2. From welfare to economic welfare: utilitarianism, efficiency and social decision rules.

  3. Basic models: Pareto optimality and the two fundamental theorems; the second best theorem; externalities.

  4. Applications: (a) Sustainability and the population problem; (b) Taxation.


Basic theory is covered by any microeconomics handbook, like H.Varian, Microeconomic Analysis, Norton (any edition later than the second will do) or, at a more advanced level, A.Mas-Colell, M.D.Whinston and J.R.Green, Microeconomic Theory, Oxford University Press, 1995. 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) a short essay (max 5000 words) which is worth up to 1/3 of the overall grade (10 points), and (b) an oral discussion of the material covered in class, worth up to 2/3 of the overall grade (20 points). Students are required to register in advance for their oral exam through AlmaEsami according to the general rules of the School of Economics and Management. Grading is on a 30 point basis, with minimum pass grade 18/30 (18-23: sufficient; 24-27: good; 28-30: very good; 30 plus distinction: excellent).

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