The Department of Economics has a long tradition and deep ties with the history and economy of the city of Genoa. Founded in 1885 as the Scuola Superiore d'Applicazione di Studi Commerciali (Higher School of Business Studies), through the joint initiative of public institutions and private operators, it has aimed to culturally and professionally train individuals capable of operating successfully in a changing economic context.
The Scuola Superiore d'Applicazione per gli Studi Commerciali di Genova became the Istituto Superiore di Scienze economiche e commerciali (Higher Institute of Economic and Commercial Sciences) in 1913 and was transformed into the Faculty of Economics and Commerce of the University of Genoa in 1936. The type of training provided to "Licentiates", who could be called "Graduates" from 1903 onwards, tended to remain constant: a solid technical-specialist preparation, through subjects such as Computing-Reasoning, Merchandising and Banking Techniques, Merceology, General and Financial Mathematics and the teaching of foreign languages (not only European languages, but also Arabic, replaced over time by other languages such as Portuguese and Russian). Alongside these disciplines, a multifaceted legal background was required, as well as preparation in Geography and Economic History.
Teaching in Political Economy, Economic Statistics and Financial Science gradually expanded from the first decade of the 20th century.
In the 1930s the annual average number of students exceeded 800, but the student population exploded from 1975/76 and in 1986 the Faculty had 4,000 members. The search for a functional site for the teaching and research tasks became a pressing issue: via Davide Chiossone, Palazzo Spinola in via Garibaldi, Palazzo Pammatone, via Balbi, via Bertani are the sites that have followed one another in time.
Since 1996 the Faculty has had its new seat in the Porto Antico, in the Darsena, in the middle of an area that has witnessed centuries of traffic. When the new Statute of the University of Genoa came into force on 1 May 2012, a process of reorganisation of the scientific and teaching structures was initiated, based on a division into Schools and Departments, which absorbed the tasks and functions of the pre-existing Faculties. The Department of Economics, which is part of the School of Social Sciences, was created within this framework.