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ECON-S320

Advanced topics in international economics

academic year
2021-2022

Course teacher(s)

Guntram WOLFF (Coordinator) and Mathieu PARENTI

ECTS credits

5

Language(s) of instruction

english

Course content

The aim of the course is to learn about the key features of European integration, the economic and institutional setting and about the major economic policy developments since the start of the global financial crisis, including the euro area crisis, the pandemic and the green deal.

We will cover major debates on EU economic policies. After an introduction into the history of EU integration, the course will focus on monetary, fiscal and financial policies in the EU. The European Union and the euro area in particular experienced profound economic up- and downturns and even existential crises during 2008-13. We will examine the reasons behind these turbulences, understand political and policy trade-offs and review the role of the European Central Bank and of fiscal authorities in this period.

We will then turn to the quest for a safe asset, the EU’s financial policies and the creation of Europe’s banking union. We will also discover how the pandemic affected the European economy and how EU policy makers responded – and how the announcement of EU debt issuance stabilised the EU economy. Finally, we will cover the European Green deal and its possible implications for the European economy.

Every session will be divided into two parts. First, the professor will present an introduction to the issue. In the second half, a group of students is asked to present on a topic.

1)  Introduction to the course and an overview on the history of EU integration

2)  The build-up of major imbalances in the euro area 1999-2008

3)  The crises of 2008-13: from global financial crisis to EU-IMF assistance in the euro area

4)  Challenges to the European Central Bank – from the debt crisis to Draghi’s “Whatever it takes”

5)  Banking Union – the idea, progress and limitations

6)  Strengthening Europe’s financial system

7)  The difficult search for a euro area safe asset

8)  The pandemic in Europe and the response of the ECB, EU member states and EU debt

9) Fiscal rules – an old reform debate with new impetus from large climate investment needs

10)  The European Green deal: key elements and difficulties

11)  European economic sovereignty: what does it mean?

12)  Brexit and the challenge of differentiated European integration (optional if time still permits)

Objectives (and/or specific learning outcomes)

Students will study how to evaluate policy trade-offs and critically assess policy decisions taken. 

Teaching methods and learning activities

The course will feature presentations by the professor, interactive discussions with students as well as selected lectures by policy makers. Moreover, all students will be required to present on a topic and write a short policy brief. The course will put a focus on interactive learning

Contribution to the teaching profile

This course contributes to the following objectives: 

  • Integrate sustainable development into problem analysis.
  • Articulate key macro and sector-specific facts and economic trends and their drivers in terms of business practice
  • Identify and apply the relevant analytical tools and scientific knowledge to analyse an economic problem in depth.
  • Display critical thinking and develop autonomous learning strategies and techniques.

References, bibliography, and recommended reading

General literature:
Richard Baldwin and Charles Wyplosz, 2019: Economics of European integration, 6th edition
Paul de Grauwe, 2020, Economics of Monetary Union, Oxford University Press, 13th edition

Additional references will be given for each session.

Course notes

  • Université virtuelle

Other information

Contacts

guntram.wolff@ulb.be

Campus

Solbosch

Evaluation

Method(s) of evaluation

  • Written report
  • Oral presentation

The grade will be based on a presentation as well as a small short paper.

Language(s) of evaluation

  • english

Programmes