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English course description
Anno accademico
Crediti formativi
Small and medium enterprises(SMEs) in international markets
Periodo didattico
Secondo Semestre

Obiettivi formativi

The aim of the course is the analysis of the theories of the firm, starting from the profit maximizing firm to alternative approaches, that involve the study of relationships both among firms and among different agents inside the firm.
At the end of the course the student is able to analyze both the firms’ choices on the market and the agents’ choices inside the firm. This will allow the student to better understand the working principles of the firm or of the institution in which he will work.


Fundamental issues of an undergraduate course in microeconomics.
Attendance is strongly recommended (not compulsory).

Contenuti del corso

- First part (12 hours): Perfect and bounded rationality. The transaction cost economics.

- Second part (18 hours): topics of information economics. Adverse selection. Akerlof’s model of lemons. Signaling theory. Spence’s model about job market. Rothschild and Stiglitz’s model of the insurance markets. Moral hazard. The principal-agent model.

- Third part (8 hours): Agents’ behavior and motivations. Monetary versus motivational incentives.

-Fourth part (8 hours): The efficiency wage theories. Shapiro-Stglitz’s model.

- Fifth part (14 hours): The property rights theory. Grossman-Hart-Moore’s model.

- Sixth part (12 hours): Ownership and control. The financial structure of the firm. The models of Jensen - Meckling and of Myers – Majluf.

Metodi didattici

Frontal lessons
Group work

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

For students attending the course, the examination will be structured in two parts:
- 30% through group works, to assess the knowledge on the topics taught during the course
- 70% through a final written examination (one section with multiple choice questions and one section with an open-ended questions), to assess the knowledge of the topics taught during the course.
The final marking will be the weighted average of the two parts. Both parts need to have a minimum marking of 18/31.

For students not attending the course, the exam will be a written test with one section with multiple choice questions and two sections with open-ended questions. The written exam is devoted to test the achievement of the training objectives. The final marking will be the weighted average of the three parts.

The marking will range from 18/31 to 31/31 (cum laude)

Testi di riferimento

- Kreps D.M. (1985), A course in Microeconomic Theory, Princeton University Press, Princeton (Part IV and Part V)

- Macho-Stadler I., Perez-Castrillo J.D. (2001) An introduction to the economics of information : incentives and contracts, Oxford University press, 2001. Chapters 1; 2; 3 (sections: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4; 3.6, 3.7); 4 (sections: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3); 5.


- Akerlof G. A. (1970), “The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 84, No. 3., pp. 488-500
- Akerlof, G.A. (1982), “Labor contracts as partial gift exchange”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, pp. 543-569
- Coase, R. (1937), “The Nature of the Firm”, Economica, 386-405.
- Grossman, S. and O. Hart (1986), “The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration”, Journal of Political Economy, 691-719.
- Grossman, S. and O. Hart (1988), “One Share-One Vote and the Market for Corporate Control”, Journal of Financial Economics 20, 175-202.
- Hart, O. and J. Moore (1990), “Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm”, Journal of Political Economy, 1119-58.
- Jensen, M. and W. Meckling (1976), “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behaviour, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure “, Journal of Financial Economics 11, 5-50.
- Myers, S. and N. Majluf (1984), “Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions when Firms Have Information That Investors Do Not Have”, Journal of Financial Economics 13, 187-221.
- Modigliani, F. and M. Miller (1958), “The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance and the Theory of Investment”, American Economic Review, 261-97.
- Rothschild, M., & Stiglitz, J. (1976). Equilibrium in competitive insurance markets: An essay on the economics of imperfect information. The quarterly journal of economics, 629-649.
- Shapiro, C., & Stiglitz, J. E. (1984), “Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device”, American Economic Review, 74
- Spence, M. (1973). "Job Market Signaling". Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87 (3): 355–374.
- Stiglitz-Weiss (1981) “Credit rationing in markets with imperfect information”, American Economic Review, n. 71.

Further material (included the slides) is available at the course Web site: