In line with the educational objectives of the Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration (CLEGA), this course aims to provide a basic understanding of the principle features of the transformational processes within international economics from the first industrial revolution to modern times, with particular attention for the Italian economy between the post-Second World War and contemporary periods.

At the end of the course, students must:

- possess a basic understanding of the chronology and nature of the development of European industrialized economies as well as that of their principle non-European counterparts from the end of the eighteenth century to the twentieth;

- be able to describe the historical and comparative contexts of the principle contemporary economic systems;

- be able to present the knowledge they have acquired using the correct terminology and concepts pertaining to the Economic history
teacher profile | teaching materials


This course will look at the evolution of the global economy from the First Industrial Revolution to the present day, with special attention for the principle European and international countries involved, their economic development and how they alternated between roles of leadership and follower from the half eighteenth century until today. Part of the course will focus on understanding the characteristics and the role of Italy’s economy within the international context from the Second World War to modern times. The principle subjects studied during the course can be grouped into the following themes:

-From the Industrial Revolution to the First World War:
preconditions and determining factors of the first industrial revolution; the role of banks and the State in the industrialization process, the consolidation of free trade; the Great Depression; the gold standard and the growth of international commerce;
- Between the two World Wars: The consequences of the First World War and of peace treaties, inflation and the gold exchange standard, the 1929 crisis and anti-depression policies in the 1930s;
- From the post-Second World War period to the twenty-first century:
Reconstruction of the global economy after World War II; the Bretton Woods system; the Marshall Plan; the origins of European economic integration; the Golden Age; the end of the Bretton Woods system; consequences of the oil crisis; the digital revolution; the expansion of the tertiary sector; neoliberal policies; the end of the planned economy; emerging economies.
- The Italian economy from the post-war period to the twenty-first century
The post-war years and the reconstruction of the Italian economy; the Italian economy’s Golden Age; responses to the oil crisis; the birth of the European Monetary System and the fight against inflation; the growth of public spending and debt in the 1970s and 1980s; the crisis of mass production, the success of Made in Italy brands

Core Documentation

R. Cameron – L. Neal, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2003
V. Zamagni, The Economic History of Italy 1860-1990, Clarendon Press, 1991

Reference Bibliography

R. Cameron, L. Neal, Storia economica del mondo, vol. II, Dal XVIII secolo ai giorni nostri, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2005 F. Amatori, A. Colli, Il mondo globale: una storia economica, Torino, Giappichelli, 2017 R. Allen, Storia economica globale, Bologna, il Mulino, 2013 K.G. Persson, Storia economica d'Europa, Milano, Apogeo, 2011 C.H. Feinstein, P. Temin, G. Toniolo, L' economia europea tra le due guerre, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2004


Classes are held in presence..

Type of evaluation

Oral exam of about 30 minutes. Students attending this course will be expected to undergo intermediate tests that will focus on the contents of the lessons and related reading material presented during the course. It will also be possible to submit written papers elaborating on individual themes covered in the course. These papers will form part of the final exam.