Political economy (2019/2020)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Roberto Ricciuti, Emanuele Bracco, Marcella Veronesi
Roberto Ricciuti
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
A.A. 19/20 dottorato dal Oct 1, 2019 al Sep 30, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course aims to give some theoretical and empirical background in the study of political decisions.


Module A – 8 hours (Roberto Ricciuti)
This module introduces state capacity a topic of current research in political economy. In particular, it will deal with:
1. Development clusters
2. Fiscal capacity
3. Legal capacity
4. Political violence
The main refence is Besley and Persson, Pillars of Prosperity (chapters 1-4).

Module B – 6 hours (Emanuele Bracco)
This module provides further theoretical underpinning to part C, looking in particular at electoral and political systems, and accountability.
• Morelli, M., “Party Formation and Policy Outcomes under Different Electoral Systems,” Review of Economic Studies, 2004.
• Myerson, R., “Theoretical Comparisons of Electoral Systems: 1998 Schumpeter Lecture,” European Economic Review, 1999.
• Lizzeri, A. and N. Persico [2001], “The provision of public goods under alternative electoral incentives”, AER 91, 225-245.
• Rogoff, Kenneth. “Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles.” The American Economic Review, vol. 80, no. 1, 1990, pp. 21–36.
• Persson, Torsten, et al. “Comparative Politics and Public Finance.” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 108, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1121–1161.

Module C – 6 hours (Marcella Veronesi)
This module introduces students to methods frequently used in political economy to infer causality. A close understanding of these methods is central to current empirical work in political economy. This module will focus on both experimental and non-experimental methods with a focus on hands-on implementation of methods using actual data. Students will be expected to read the assigned papers, discuss the basic issues, the methods used, and reproduce the results. There is no single textbook on which lectures are based. Specific readings will be suggested during the course such as
Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, J. A. Robinson (2001), “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,” American Economic Review, 91(5): 1369-1401. http://economics.mit.edu/faculty/acemoglu/data/ajr2001

Brollo, F., T. Nannicini, R. Perotti, and G. Tabellini (2013), “The Political Resource Curse,” American Economic Review 2013, 103(5): 1759–1796. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.5.1759

Dal Bó, P., A. Foster, and L. Putterman (2010), “Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy,” American Economic Review 100: 2205–2229. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.100.5.2205

Nannicini, T., A. Stella, G. Tabellini, and U. Troiano (2013), “Social Capital and Political Accountability,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 5(2): 222–250. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/pol.5.2.222

Assessment methods and criteria

Grades will be calculated based upon the following criteria:

20% Assignment on case studies
80% Essay. It could be either a survey of the literature (4000 words) or (preferably) an empirical application on a relevant economic issue (3000 words).