International Trade

Course Description

An intensive examination of modern theories of international commercial policy and the international trade system. Developments in trade theory, and restrictions of international trade are discussed.

Course Objectives

The course will enable students to gain an understanding of how the international economy works and how economic theory can be used to understand issues of public policy, the impact of trade on economic development, and the impact of trade restrictions.

Course Materials


The course will mainly follow the textbook “International Economics: A Heterodox Approach” by Hendrik Van den Berg (2nd edition), 2012, Routledge. The required readings from this textbook are listed below.

The textbook is available from amazon and bookdepository.

You will find a study guide for the textbook here.

Sometimes it is helpful to have access to an alternative textbook that explains the material in a different way. For this purpose I recommend: Robert J. Carbaugh, International Economics (15th edition), 2014, Cengage.

An additional study guide for (only) the orthodox models that includes solved problems is:
Salvatore, Schaum’s Outline of International Economics, 4th Edition, 1995, McGrawHill.
Available from amazon and bookdepository

On work, Progress, and Prosperity

Brynjolfsson and McAfee, The Second Machine Age, 2014, W.W. Norton

Brynjolfsson and McAfee, Race Against the Machine, 2012, Digital Frontier Press

Course Requirements:

Students must read the corresponding chapters of the textbook before each session. Reading the economic and political press will also be helpful.

Course Prerequisites:

Students need to have passed principles of microeconomics and principles of macroeconomics before enrolling in this course.

Instructor Information:

Prof. Dr. Dennis A. V. Dittrich

You can always contact me via email. For meetings in my office appointments can be arranged through the my webpage at:

Updated information, links to the literature, additional materials, etc. can be found on my webpage as well.

Grading Guidelines:

Grading ComponentWeight
Class Participation and Quizzes20%
Midterm Examination20%
Final Examination40%

(Class) participation (at the level of an “A”) requires that you attend class regularly and always contribute to the discussion by raising thoughtful questions, analyzing relevant issues, building on other’s ideas, synthesizing across readings and discussions, expanding the class perspective, and appropriately challenging assumptions and perspectives. You help your fellow students. Contributing in the aforementioned ways only (“B”) sometimes, (“C”) rarely, or (“D”) never diminishes not only your own but your fellow students learning opportunities.


A typical 3 credit course requires 150 hours of your time. The table below identifies how I expect those 150 hours will be allocated. While you do not receive direct marks for reading, reading will affect your class participation mark (your ability to participate in class discussions and activities) and your final exam mark. While some weeks have more readings than others, you should be able to read the required reading in an average of 2 hours per week.

Class Time (3 hours / week)45 hours
Reading (3 hours / week)45 hours
Review and Homework (4 hours / week)60 hours

Weekly Topics and Reading Assignments

Week 1 (13.02.)

Introduction to International Trade (Ch. 1)

The Economist, 6.2.2016, Trade in the balance

Week 2 (20.02.)

The Heterodox Approach (Ch. 2)

Week 3 (27.02.)

International Trade Theory (Ch. 3)

The Economist, 6.8.2016, An inconvenient iota of truth
The Economist, 29.09.2016, Coming and going
The Economist, 1.10.2016, An open and shut case

Week 4 (06.03.)

International Trade: Beyond the Neoclassical Perspective (Ch. 4)

The Economist, 29.09.2016, Down to earth

Adjustment to Trade Liberalization

Autor, D.H., Dorn, D. and Hanson, G.H., 2016. The China shock: Learning from labor market adjustment to large changes in trade. Annual Review of Economics, 8(1).

Week 5 (13.03.)

Imperfect Competition & Transnational Corporations (Ch. 5)

The Economist, 29.9.2016, A lapse in concentration

Week 6 (20.03.)

International Trade & Economic Development (Ch. 6)

Week 7 (27.03.)

International Trade, Human Happiness, and Unequal Economic Development (Ch. 7)

Week 8 (3.04.)


Week 9 (24.04.)

Tariffs, Quotas, & Trade Restrictions (Ch. 8)

The Economist, 1.10.2016, Hard bargain
The Economist, 29.9.2016, Needed but not wanted

Week 10 (8.05.)

continue: Tariffs, Quotas, & Trade Restrictions (Ch. 8)

History of Trade Policy (Ch. 9)

The Economist, 2.4.2016, Open Argument
The Economist, 2.4.2016, Trade, at what price?

Week 11 (15.05.)

continue: History of Trade Policy (Ch. 9)

International Trade Policy: A Holistic Perspective (Ch. 10)

The Economist, 1.10.2016, The reset button

Week 12 (22.05.)

continue: International Trade Policy: A Holistic Perspective (Ch. 10)

Early Monetary History (Ch. 15) and The International Monetary System (Ch. 16)

Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money on youtube
The Economist, 27.08.2016, Two out of three ain’t bad
The Economist, 1.10.2016, The good, the bad and the ugly

Week 13 (29.05.)

Immigration (Ch. 18)

Week 14 (2.06.)


Week 15 (12.06.)


Topics and reading assignments are subject to changes.


You are encouraged to hand in the solution to the problem sets jointly in groups of up to two students. Every member of the group should be able to explain their solution if asked to do so.

You will find the homework problems and other material for download in this dropbox folder. [Click Here!]

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