International Trade I (Theory and Policy)

The act of exchange underpins all of economics. Trade which crosses international borders is a simple extension of this principle. In this course we will consider the three major 'waves' of theories used to explain trade between countries, industries and firms, and the empirical evidence which led to major theoretical advances in trade theory. We will also discuss a number of important trade topics which have been investigated empirically. This theoretical background and empirical research will be used to design a trade policy strategy as an assignment for the course.

Anticipated learning outcomes:

  • Understand different theoretical explanations for why countries, industries and firms engage in international trade;
  • Be able to discuss the assumptions which underlie these different theories and thus determine when they are appropriate tools for understanding trade;
  • Be familiar with the main empirical work which led to the development of these theories and/or provides support for them;
  • Be able to discuss and comment on current issues in international trade research;
  • Apply the concepts developed in the course to trade policy.

Twelve topics will be covered. Classes will generally alternate between theory, usually a lecture, and applied topics, usually class presentations.

Course instructors: Neil Rankin and Cecilia Punt

Work programme

BER Weekly

19 February 2018
It was a dramatic week on the local front with the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma, the swearing in of a new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday. This follows weeks of speculation following Ramaphosa's ascension to the position of ANC president last December. In this edition of the weekly review,...

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