Scheda insegnamento

Anno Accademico 2017/2018

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

Al termine del corso lo studente acquisisce adeguati strumenti per comprendere ed analizzare la politica agraria a livello comunitario ed internazionale. Lo studente analizza con particolare attenzione alcuni aspetti specifici del sistema agro-alimentare e le sue implicazioni con la sicurezza alimentare, con il mercato mondiale, con l'ambiente e con il sistema degli aiuti allo sviluppo.


Setting the context (4 hours)

Agricultural, food and rural economics: basic elements. The role of governments in food and agriculture; Governments, versus corporations, versus non-governmental organizations; Policy objectives: from addressing market failures to food security to rent seeking; Agriculture and natural resources; Sustainability and circular economy.

The politics of farm subsidies (2 hours)

Why do farm subsidies persist? How agricultural subsidies changed over the years? Who is helped by farm subsidies, and who is hurt?

EU farm and food policies: a brief history (2 hours)

The evolution of the Common Agricultural Policy; Current EU farm commodity programs: policies and implications.

Agribusiness, food companies, and supermarkets (2 hours)

Do agribusiness companies control seed supplies, and farmers? Do food companies control food policy? The raise of supermarkets.

The food we eat (2 hours)

Fast food: fast food taxation and regulations in US and EU. Organic, local, and slow food: consumer preferences, business decisions and government policies. Agriculture, food and nutrition.

Trade policies (8 hours)

Measures for protection and trade distortions; Analysing markets: what to look for; Importer and exporter policies: basic analytical tools; WTO: Uruguay round, boxes of support, Doha and other trade negotiations.

US farm and food policies: a brief history (2 hours)

The evolution of the Farm Bill; Current US farm commodity programs: policies and implications.

Food security, nutrition and food waste (6 hours)

Food security: definitions, the 2008 World Food Crisis, international responses to hunger; Food and nutrition programmes; Food waste: definition and quantification, Economic, technical, social and institutional drivers of food waste, economic behaviour of businesses and consumers with respect to food waste, innovation addressing food loss and waste reduction, policy interventions addressing food loss and waste reduction.

Emerging food and agricultural policies (2 hours)

How to feed the world in 2050?


James P. Houck. Elements of Agricultural Trade Policies. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1986 (selected chapters).

Bruce L. Gardner. The Economics of Agricultural Policies. New York: Macmillan, 1988 (selected chapters).

Robert Paarlberg. Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013 (Chapters 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15).

Additional readings:

Patrick Westhoff. The Economics of Food. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: FT Press/Pearson Education, 2010.

Tim Lang. Food Wars: the Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. Routledge, 2015 (selected chapters).

The first two of these books may seem dated, but they are the work of two late, great agricultural economists and provide solid, succinct explanations of the economics underlying agricultural, trade and rural policies. The latter three are more recent and are written for a general audience.

To provide a more current view of policy issues, we will assign readings from other publications, including academic journals, government and international agency publications, and even clippings from the popular press.

Specific reading will be provided by the lectuers during class.

Metodi didattici

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

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Students who attended at least 70% of the lectures will be required to produce a review/policy paper of around 4000 words. A concept note of the review/policy paper will be presented and discussed during the class. The final version of the policy paper will be presented and discussed during the exam after the end of the class. The paper should be submitted at least three working days in advance.

The final grade for the module will be calculated thusly:

  • In class grade: policy brief, case analysis, articles revision and discussion, and other class activities (40% approximately)
  • Policy paper preparation and discussion (60% approximately)

Non attending students will be requested to take an oral exam and to produce a review/policy paper of around 4000 words. The review/policy paper will be presented and discussed with the lecturer. The oral exam will start from the discussion on the paper and it will consist of questions related to the course material. The topic of the policy paper should be agreed with the lecturer.

The final grade will be calculated thusly:

  • Policy paper preparation and discussion (40% approximately)
  • Oral (60% approximately)

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Laptop, beamer, flipchart, others.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Matteo Vittuari

Consulta il sito web di William Henry Meyers