Anno Accademico 2023/2024

  • Modalità didattica: Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Laurea in Economia, mercati e istituzioni (cod. 8038)

    Valido anche per Laurea in Economics and Finance (cod. 8835)

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

The main objective of the course is to provide students with tools to think critically and autonomously about economic ideas. After completing the course, students are expected to be able to 1) Elaborate on a personal conceptual map of the history of the fundamental ideas of economic theory and policy 2) Compare different economic models, theories, and interpretations in their respective social, political, and technical contexts and identify points of cohesion and points of contrast 3) Read and analyse primary sources, articles, and models in its original context 4) Produce a structured discourse using historical case-studies to discuss present day issues


The course ‘Foundational ideas in economics’ is an historical introduction to the main controversies that constitute the core of economic thinking since the 18th century.

The course is structured around a chronological overview of the development of economics as a discipline followed by a series of sessions on topics that have contributed to the main controversies in the history of economic thought.

The chronological overview will follow the evolution of the discipline since its origins to the current state of the profession.

  • The creation of “the economy” and the emergence of political economy as a separate field of inquiry
  • The emergence of the profession in the late 19th century in Europe and the US
  • The transformation of post-war economics:
    • The Second World War
    • the mathematisation of economics
  • Recent economics:
    • the emergence of mainstream economics since the 1970s
    • the fragmentation of economics since the 2000s

The course will be organised around 8 topics: wealth, trade, value, market, crisis, inequality, externalities, and development.


Backhouse, Roger. 2023. The Penguin History of Economics. London: Penguin.

Kuiper, Edith. 2022. A Herstory of Economics. London: Wiley.

Roncaglia, Alessandro. 2009. The Wealth of Ideas. A History of Economic Thought. Cambridge University Press. (Also available in Italian)

Metodi didattici

This course is taught entirely in English.

There will be two mandatory readings for each topic consisting of one primary source and one article or chapter producing a reflexive analysis of the topic. The goal is to equip student with the capacity to read primary sources and understand their contexts.

The course will then proceed in a series of sessions devoted to different ideas. One session will be devoted to each topic. Each session will be divided in two parts: the first will be a traditional lecture format with discussion; the second will be devoted to students’ presentations and a participative debate.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

Grades will be assigned based on students' presentations in class and the writing of an essay. Each evaluation will count for 1/2 of the final mark.

The essay will consist of a research paper on an assigned topic (2,000 to 3,000 words). The subject will be given on the last day of teaching, and needs to be submitted by email.

The maximum possible score is 30 cum laude, in case all anwers are correct, complete and formally rigorous.

The grade is graduated as follows:

<18 failed
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 e lode excellent

Students can reject the grade obtained at the exam once. To this end, they must email a request to the instructor within the date set for registration. The instructor will confirm reception of the request within the same date.

Students unable to attend the class will have to write two essays and pass an oral exam. They should contact the Lecturer in advance in order to be send the subject of the essay.

In general, all information relative to exams will be send on the Virtuale page of the course.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Cleo Faiza Layla Chassonnery Zaigouche