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International Economic Law


International economic law


Anno accademico 2020/2021

Codice dell'attività didattica
Prof. Annamaria Viterbo (Titolare dell'insegnamento)
Corso integrato
Corso di studi
Master's Degree Course in Area and global studies for international cooperation
1° anno
Periodo didattico
Primo semestre
SSD dell'attività didattica
IUS/13 - diritto internazionale
Modalità di erogazione
Lingua di insegnamento
Modalità di frequenza
Tipologia d'esame
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.

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. Further, 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 dynamics  of international financial institutions 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 internationl law.


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

Students should demonstrate a good knowledge, on the one hand, of the role of States, International organizations 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


Modalità di insegnamento

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

The different teaching blocks will be organised through a blend of different components:  reading and study materials, video lectures, presentations with vocal comment, streaming lessons, in presence or virtual room  (Webex) sessions for interaction with students, assignments of reaction papers, students’ in presence or online presentations etc.

All the materials will be made available through the teaching platform (Moodle).

A more precise balance of the different components is dependent on the evolution of health restrictions and will be communicated to the students at the beginning of the course.

It is therefore essential and compulsory that all the students enrol in the teaching platform to have full access both to materials, discussions and communications.

Please, remeber to enroll on the Moodle platform; the address of the course is:

The first lecture will take place on the 28th of September 2020 at 12:00 (Rome time) on the Webex platform. Please connect to my Webex room at the following address:



Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

EXAM MODALITIES for A.Y. 2020-2021

For students regularly attending class (on Webex and on the Moodle platform) in a.y. 2020-2021


  • Group work participation (students will be assessed on active participation in a breakout group exercise) = 20%
  • Research paper (3,500 to 4,000 words) = 80%

Attending student will be evaluated on the basis of the work done in group (20%) and of a research paper (80%).

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.

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. the definitive version): no help in finding bibliographic material or other information will be provided; you are entirely responsible for that.

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

The final deadline to submit a research paper and to be evaluated as an attending student will be the 30th of June 2021.

No research paper will be accepted after the 30th of June 2021.

Remember that PLAGIARISM is a serious academic offence.

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




For students NOT having regularly attended class during a.y. 2020-2021, 2019-2020 or 2018-2019, the exam modalities are the following:

ORAL exam (students will be required to answer three questions out of the four proposed) on the Webex platform, on one of the following three books:


  • Viterbo A., International Monetary Fund, Wolters Kluwer, 2019, in its entirety 


  • Sabine Schlemmer-Schulte, World Bank, Wolters Kluwer, 2014, pp. 1-132, 165-225.


  • Viterbo A., Sovereign Debt Restructuring: The Role and Limits of Public International Law, Giappichelli, 2020, Chapters 1,2,3 and 4.2 (available as e-book)

Attività di supporto

Exercises are planned.

Guest lecturers may be invited on specific topics.



The course will begin on the 28th of September 2020 by introducing the subjects of international economic law - States, international organisations and private actors (such as NGOs and multinational enterprises) - focusing on the divide between industrialised States and least developed countries.

The course will then analyse the governance structure and the mandate of international financial institutions (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank), discussing some of the most controversial aspects such as their conditionality policy and issues related to their immunities and international responsibility.

The last part of the course will be devoted to sovereign debt issues and the existing regimes for sovereign debt restructuring; the Greek crisis will be discussed as a case study.

- 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


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)




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

Further materials and resources (selection of book chapters, papers, documents) will be distributed in class.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 29/05/2021 16:41
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