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International economic law


Anno accademico 2021/2022

Codice attività didattica
Prof. Annamaria Viterbo (Titolare dell'insegnamento)
Corso di studio
Master's Degree Course in Area and global studies for international cooperation
1° anno
Da definire
SSD attività didattica
IUS/13 - diritto internazionale
Tipologia esame
Tipologia unità didattica
Corso integrato
For a better understanding of the key concepts of "States", "international organisations" and "treaties" it is suggested to read the chapters on Subjects and Sources of any textbook of international law.
For example, Anders Heriksen, International Law, Oxford, 2018, Chapters 2 and 3.
Mutuato da

Sommario del corso


Obiettivi formativi

The course aims at enabling students to understand the structure and purposes of the main international organizations and of the other actors in the field of international economic law. In particular, it aims at providing the analytical tools for a basic understanding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, their institutional and legal framework and their interconnections. The course will also focus on sovereign debt issues.

Students will be provided both with a solid background as well as a set of conceptual and critical tools for reflecting more deeply on the role of international financial institutions in the world economic order and the logics of sovereign debt.

This course contributes to the realization of the AGIC curriculum by introducing the functioning of key international financial institutions (the World Bank, the IMF) and by explaining how sovereign debt impacts on development. The standpoint adopted is that of public international law.


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

Students should demonstrate a good knowledge, on the one hand, of the role of States, International financial institutions and private actors in international economic law and, on the other hand, of their impact on economic development and on the protection of fundamental rights




The course will begin on the 20th of September 2021.

The course will offer a 'zero module' through the Moodle platform on the subjects and sources of international law for students who do not have a legal background.

The course will be structured in three modules.

The first module will analyse the governance structure and the mandate of the International Monetary Fund, discussing some of its most controversial aspects such as the Fund's conditionality policy.

The second module will analyse the governance structure and the mandate of the World Bank, discussing its project cycle, the standards applied in the realization of funded projects and the role of the Inspection Panel.

The third module will be devoted to sovereign debt issues and the existing regimes for sovereign debt restructuringand with a focus on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the (un)sustainability of the sovereign debt of many low- and middle-income countries.

- The International Monetary Fund: governance structure, functions (financial assistance in particular) and critical aspects

- The World Bank: governance structure, functions (project financing in particular) and critical aspects

- Sovereign Debt: its impact on development, mechanisms for sovereign debt restructuring, critical aspects



Modalità di insegnamento

The course will be taught through the traditional learning model based on frontal lectures as well as through interactive lectures and group work actvities. Reference documents will be distributed to stimulate debate. Experts in specific fields may be invited as speakers.

Class recordings and reading materials will be made available through the teaching platform (Moodle). The platform will also be used to organise group activities.

It is therefore essential and compulsory that all the students enrol in the teaching platform to have full access to studying materials and for communication purposes.

Please, enroll on the Moodle platform at

The first lecture will take place on the 20th of September 2020 at 12:00 (Rome time), in class (and on the Webex platform).



Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

EXAM MODALITIES for A.Y. 2021-2022

For students regularly attending class (either at University and/or on the Moodle platform) in a.y. 2021-2022


  • 1) Group work participation (a breakout group exercise that will be organized towards the end of the course) = 25%
  • 2) Research paper (3,500 to 4,000 words) = 75%

The research paper should focus on one of the topics discussed in class: it could be a general topic (for example, the IMF and human rights or odious debt) or a more specific case (a project funded by the IBRD or the IDA, a case brought before the Inspection Panel, the Haitian independence debt, etc).

I expect the submitted paper to be final (i.e. no amendments or updates allowed): no help in finding bibliographic material or other information will be provided; you are entirely responsible for bibliographic research and for writing the paper.

The minimum - maximum length is 3500 - 4000 words (bibliography and footnotes not included).

The research paper has to be submitted at least one week before the date of the exam in which the grade will be officially registered to allow for enough time for evaluation.

The final deadline to submit a research paper and to be evaluated as an attending student will be the 30th of June 2022.

No research paper will be accepted and evaluated after the 30th of June 2022.

Remember that PLAGIARISM is a serious academic offence. Therefore, every paper will be uploaded on Turnitin to check for plagiarism.

Before starting writing your research paper, please read the infografic on the plagiarism spectrum clicking the hyperlink.




For students NOT regularly attending class in A.Y. 2021-2022, the exam modalities will be the following:


1) Students will be first required to answer a quiz/test on the Moodle platform with multiple choice and true/false questions) on the entire study programme.

The studying materials for prof. Viterbo's module for non-attending students are the followings:

  • A. Qureshi and A. Ziegler, International Economic Law, Sweet&Maxwell, 2019, Part 2 International Monetary Law (pp. 149-336) and Part 5 International Development Law (pp. 677-741)


  • A. Viterbo, Sovereign Debt Restructuring: The Role and Limits of Public International Law, Giappichelli, 2020, Chapters 1,2,3 (pp. 1-117), available also as e-book

2) Students passing the quiz with at least a grade of 20, will be allowed to propose a research topic on which to write their final paper.

Research papers should met the same requirements outlined above for attending students (selection of topic, lenght, check for plagiarism, submission at least a week before the exam date, etc).  

The final grade will be however calculated in this way: 50% test + 50% research paper.




Expected learning outcomes (according to Dublin descriptors)

Knowledge and understanding: knowledge of the main topics analyzed during the course

Applying knowledge and understanding:ability to apply the knowledge acquired to understand relevant reading materials and news, to participate in a discussion or a conference, to understand experts

Making judgements: ability to recognize relevant research materials, to identify a research question, to structure the content of an essay, to interpret sources and to provide an answer to the research question 

Communication: ability to communicate the acquired knowledge, demonstrating an adequate capacity of synthesis and abstraction and using a clear and rigorous language (grammar included)

Lifelong learning skills:acquisition of an effective study method, ability to identify and interpret different problems and texts



Attività di supporto

Exercises are planned.

Guest lecturers may be invited on specific topics.

Testi consigliati e bibliografia


Reference textbooks:

  • Viterbo A., International Monetary Fund, Wolters Kluwer (in the series Encyclopedias: IEL Intergovernmental Organizations) 2019


  • Sabine Schlemmer-Schulte, World Bank, Wolters Kluwer (in the series Encyclopedias: IEL Intergovernmental Organizations), 2014


  • Viterbo, Sovereign Debt Restructuring: The Role and Limits of Public International Law, Giappichelli, 2020 (available as e-book)


  • Qureshi and Ziegler, International Economic Law, Sweet&Maxwell, 2019, Parts 2 and 5




Attendace is not compulsory, but strongly recommended, as students regularly attending will be evaluated on the basis of participation in class and on their research paper.

Further materials and resources (selection of book chapters, papers, documents) will be made available on the Moodle platform.

The final grade for the course INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES will be an average of the grade obtained on the MODULE OF PROF. VITERBO weighted for 6 CFU (x) and of the grade obtained on the MODULE OF PROF. FRANCAVILLA weighted for 3 CFU (y) according to the following formula:

(x + x + y) : 3 = final grade

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