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Pluralism of economic ideas

Come and learn the importance of pluralism in economics, from a historical perspective. Wide and fair debate is the only way for economics to progress and be useful for society!

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • PhD
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
23 September 2024 - 14 February 2025

The blended course will highlight how economic theories have changed over time, and how there has always been a plurality of different views at any point in time. It will provide students with the opportunity to read and discuss key economic texts from the past, as well as to analyse and understand specific topics or concepts from a variety of points of view. Our discipline has always been characterized by a plurality of competing perspectives and research paradigms, despite the recent, worrying involution in both teaching and research. A historical view of the development of economics is key to understanding where economics comes from and where it is going.

The course will comprise three modules (each recommended for 3 ETCS):

  • Module 1. Reading seminars (online)
  • Module 2. Lectures (online)
  • Module 3. Workshop in Rome (in person)

Students can choose to take part in one or both the virtual components, and the physical part.

Main topics addressed

  • Methods of the social sciences and reasons for pluralism
  • The “pre-history” of economic thought (from ancient Greece to the 16th century)
  • Classical political economy (Smith, Ricardo, Marx)
  • The different strands of marginalism (Jevons, Walras, Menger)
  • Neoclassical economics and later developments
  • Keynes, post-Keynesian and anti-Keynesian economics
  • Recent heterodox strands: institutionalism, feminist economics, evolutionary economics, etc.

Learning outcomes

Students taking the course will develop:

  • Differentiated knowledge on economic ideas from different perspectives and schools of thought;
  • Critical thinking on the creation, evolution, and transmission of economic ideas;
  • Skills in participating in debates on economic ideas and policy rationale, and their relationship with concrete social and economic issues.
Dates: 23 September 2024 - 14 February 2025 Total workload: 260 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 9*
Location: Rome, Italy Language: English (B2)
Contact: Carlo D'Ippoliti  

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

10 - 14 February 2025

The group activities foreseen for the physical component will encompass innovative teaching methods (theatrical representations, mock trials) and aim at allowing the students to take stock and put in practice what they have learnt in the online modules. The specific forms of activities chosen highlight and even force students to explicitly consider plurality of ideas and points of views in economics.

During the physical mobility part, the students will attend seminars on specific topics, held by the professors of the organizing universities and/or guest speakers, they will take part in roundtables, and they will engage in a number of group activities that will have been prepared during the remote course. This will include one or more theatrical representations (depending on the number of students), and two or more mock “trials”. Theatrical performances will be held by the students in the form of dialogues. Students will impersonate previously defined characters, based on a text written by themselves, under the supervision of a professor.

Mock trials will have the students divide into four groups: two will argue respectively for and against a certain thesis (e.g. a certain hard question in the history of economic thought) while the other two groups will compose the jury and the professors will act as judge. Then, the groups will switch roles: the two groups of the jury in the first trial become the attorneys, against pro and against a certain thesis, in a second trial on a different topic, and two groups of previous attorneys become the new jury.

The teaching goal of both kinds of activities is to highlight the presence of different points of views by means of the rhetorical device of debates.

Virtual part

23 September 2024 - 31 January 2025

The virtual part is divided into two separate modules.

In the “reading seminars” module, selected key writings from the more recent past of the discipline are assigned to students, who then collectively discuss in class their message and significance. The specific reading list will be adapted to the students’ priori knowledge and interests, but will likely include the following: Veblen T. (1898), Pigou A.C. (1917), Schumpeter J. (1928), Keynes J.M. (1930), Pen J. (1971), Minsky H.P. (1973), Robinson J. (1974), Boserup E. (1975), Hirschman A.O. (1982), Agarwal B. (1992), Sen A. (2000), Folbre N. and Nelson J.A. (2000), Sylos Labini P. (2003).

In the “lectures” module, students will attend ten weekly seminars on a specific topic (full list to be finalized), such as the theory of value, the theory of employment, etc. These topics will be analysed and discussed from a historical point of view, considering how different economists approached and explained the relevant facts or concepts over time. The “lectures” module will cover a larger span than the reading seminars, from the ‘pre-history’ of economics (considering ancient Greece) up to the mid-XX century, as well as basic notions and debates on economic methodology and the philosophy of economics.

In both cases, a weekly online session will run from the beginning of October to mid December. If necessary, one or two sessions could take place in January.

Students can enrol in one or both the modules – but please notice that decisions on how many credits will be recognised rests with the single universities and not with the organizers of the BIP.


This course is open to avanced Bachelor's, and to Master's and PhD students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in Economics or other social sciences. Participants should have an intermediate knowledge of economics, and a good level of spoken English (B2).

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 28 April 2024 and including your CV and a motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated mainly based on the motivation letter, provided that the level of English satisfies a minimum requirement. Only if too many applications will be received, the CV will be considered too.

Apply now


Each module will assess the students’ skills and learning separately. For the “reading seminars” online module, assessment will be based on the students’ active participation to class debates, which will demonstrate that they have completed the assigned readings. For the “lectures” online module, students will take a short test at the end of the module. For the physical mobility module, the students will participate in several group activities and roundtables, and their performance will be assessed by the teaching staff.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

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  • Carlo D’Ippoliti is a professor of political economy at  Sapienza Università di Roma and editor of open-access economics journals “PSL Quarterly Review” and “Moneta e Credito”. His research interests include science policy and the history and sociology of economics.
  • Nicholas J. Theocarakis is Professor of Political Economy and History of Economic Thought at the Dept of Economics of The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He is the Director of the MPhil Economics Program and Head of the Doctoral Studies Committee. He has served as a Secretary General for Fiscal Policy of the Ministry of Finance and Greece's representative in the Eurogroup Working Group. He has served as Chairman and Scientific Director of the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) and Chairman of Megaron-The Athens Concert Hall. He has written three books on Political economy and the History of economic thought.
  • Marcella Corsi is Professor of Economics at  Sapienza Università di Roma, where she coordinates "Minerva - Laboratory on Diversity and Gender Inequality". She is among the founders of the web-magazine inGenere (, is chief editor of the "International Review of Sociology", and, a member of the board of the International Association for Feminist Economics.
  • Julimar da Silva Bichara is Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economic Structure and Development Economics of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid(UAM). He has been a member of the Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics (SASE) since 2006 and a member of its Executive Council since 2018. Julimar has recently published on Cepal Review, the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Metroeconomica and World Economy, and is the current coordinator of UAM’s Master's on Economic Development and Public Policy. 
  • Giulia Zacchia is assistant professor of economics at  Sapienza Università di Roma. She holds a PhD in History of Economic Thought, she was a founder of the Working Group on Gender Economics for the Young Scholars Initiative of the Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET) and is a member of the executive committee of STOREP - Italian Association for the History of Political Economy. Her research interests extend to social and financial inclusion, gender economics and gender gaps in labor markets and in academia, including the identification of the contribution of women to the development of economic thought.
  • Javier Baquero Pérez is Profesor Ayudante Doctor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). His research focuses on labor market dynamics, with a particular emphasis on their relationship with education, collective bargaining and their socioeconomic impacts. Javier has extensive experience in researching the employment integration of university students in the European Union. He is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics (SASE).