Course Unit Page


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

No poverty Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

This is a course is an applied course on international economic development, organised around the main current topics. The aim of the course is to offer students the theoretical and analytical tools to understand the different interpretations of economic development - in its evolving features - both at the local and at the international level. With the objective of providing the basic context for correctly framing the Sustainable Development Goals, the course focuses on issues such as poverty, hunger, inequality, migration and unbalanced development. The experience of the so-called emerging countries will be one of the privileged points of view. Students will be able to acquire the ability to tackle the problems of economic development and competition in an applied and comparative perspective, with thematic in-depth applications.

Course contents

This course covers four main areas:

  1. Poverty – how has poverty evolved in recent times and how it has affected (and been affected) by development (or lack of)
  2. Inequality - how has inequality evolved in recent times and how it has affected (and been affected) by development (or lack of)
  3. Climate change – how has climate change evolved in recent times and how it has affected (and has been affected) by development
  4. The recent pandemic – how and why it is related to the environment and how it has affected development


1. What is poverty: definitions and measures. Absolute and relative poverty. Multi-dimensional poverty

2. Poverty: what the numbers show. Long-run and short run tendencies. The changing “geography of poverty”


1. Inequality in the distribution of income and wealth: definitions and concepts

2. Inequality in the distribution of income and wealth: measures

3. The relationship between income growth and income inequality. The Kuznets’ curve.

4. World income inequality: the distance between rich and poor countries. The great divergence.

5. Is world income inequality increasing or not? The evidence

6. Historical view on inequality in the distribution of wealth and income. Piketty’s contribution. The debate on Piketty’s contribution

7. Inequality in health and living conditions

8. The consequences of inequality: populism and the crisis of democracy

Climate change and its economic and social consequences

1. Why are we talking about climate change. Who (which country/activity) is mostly contributing to it and who (which country/activity) is mostly affected

2. Climate change inequalities

3. Climate change and economics - Climate change and policy

4. Consequences of climate change on social and economic conditions

The recent pandemic  

1. The social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic


References will be provided during the course. Non textbook is required

Teaching methods

Power point presentations in class. Interactions with students. Written exam on the course topics and writing of an essay.

Assessment methods

Written exam (60% of final grade)

Free discussion essay (40% of final grade)

Teaching tools

Powerpoint slides, online exchanges

Office hours

See the website of Pier Giorgio Ardeni