ECON 4008 - International Trade IV (H)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

This course provides students the tools necessary to understand, analyze, and evaluate recent empirical and theoretical research papers in international trade. This requires strengthening the students? knowledge of trade theory as well as econometric techniques commonly used in international trade. Besides classic trade theory, the course also covers the '(new) new trade theory' which focuses on the role of monopolistic competition and firm heterogeneity in shaping international trade patterns. Special emphasis will be put on empirical and policy-related aspects of international trade.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 4008
    Course International Trade IV (H)
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites ECON 2506 and ECON 2504 OR ECON 3506
    Restrictions Available only to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Economics (Honours) program
    Assessment Typically, mid-term test, assignment and final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Benedikt Heid

    Dr Benedikt Heid
    Location: Room 4.08, 10 Pulteney Street
    Telephone: 831 34930
    Office hours for students: 11-12am Mondays (only after previous appointment via email)
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Research in international trade focusses on the determinants and consequences of globalization: Do consumers and workers benefit from trade liberalization? Why do countries sign trade agreements and how do they affect trade flows? How do firms react to increasing competition? What is the optimal level of tariffs? Which firms lose from globalization, and which ones profit from it? Why do multinational enterprises exist?

    This course seeks to improve our understanding of the economic effects of globalization and give answer to these questions.

    The course will focus both on current theoretical and empirical research in international trade with a clear general equilibrium (economy wide) focus. This approach is also helpful in other fields of economics including public finance, environmental and resource economics, agricultural or other industry/sector economics, and the economics of politics.

    After completing this course, students will be able to analyze current issues in international trade with analytical rigor. This is essential for both trade policy consulting for governments and the private sector as well as for understanding current research papers in international trade as a preparation for a PhD.

    The course assumes students have the basic toolkit of microeconomics and trade theory from undergraduate courses, which will be built on and applied to analyse contemporary trade and trade-related policy issues.

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Describe the most important theories used in the academic literature to explain observed trade patterns using formal mathematical analysis.
    2 Sketch the interaction between different stylized facts of international trade patterns and the development of theories which try to explain these stylized facts.
    3 Apply trade theories to describe the effects of trade liberalization policies and to critically evaluate current trade policy discussions.
    4 Identify and reflect upon the individual contributions of important research papers in international trade and constructively criticize their shortcomings.
    5 Have improved their communication skills through presenting their work and by interacting during tutorial sessions and discussions in class.
    6 Describe the most commonly used econometric techniques in current international trade research.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1-4, 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1-3, 5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2, 4-6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The course will be mostly based on the following text book:

    Robert C. Feenstra (2016): Advanced International Trade. Theory and Evidence. Second Edition. Princeton University Press.

    In addition, papers published in academic journals related to the material covered in class will be linked to on myuni.
    Recommended Resources
    Alternative graduate-level textbooks are:

    Dixit, A.K. and Norman, V. (1980): Theory of International Trade. Cambridge Economic Handbooks.
    Krugman, Paul R. and Helpman, Elhanan (1985): Market Structure and Foreign Trade Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy. MIT Press.
    Note that these textbooks do not cover the more recent developments which we will discuss in class but are perfectly fine for the old classics.

    To recapitulate the most important concepts in international trade at an undergraduate level, students are advised to consult any of the following books:

    Feenstra, Robert C. and Taylor, Alan M. (2014): International Economics. Third Edition. Worth Macmillan.
    Krugman, Paul R., Obstfeld, Maurice and Melitz, Marc J. (2015): International Economics. Theory and Policy. Tenth Edition. Pearson.
    McLaren, John (2013): International Trade. Wiley.

    A good intermediate trade textbook (more formal than the above but less formal than Feenstra (2016) is:

    Marrewijk, Charles van (2012): International Economics. Theory, Application, and Policy. Second Edition. Oxford University Press.

    Finally, a very nice short and non-mathematical summary of international trade for a general interest audience is:

    Helpman, Elhanan (2011): Understanding Global Trade. Belknap Harvard.

    If you want to refresh your microeconomics knowledge, I recommend these books:
    Varian, Hal R. (2006): Intermediate Microeconomics. Seventh Edition. Norton.
    Varian, Hal R. (1992): Microeconomic Analysis. Third Edition. Norton.

    If you want to refresh your math knowledge, I recommend this book:
    Sydsaeter, Knut, Hammond, Peter, Strom, Arne and Carvajal, Andrés (2016): Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis. Fifth Edition. Pearson.
    Online Learning
    The slides used in each lecture will be uploaded on MyUni after each lecture. Additional links to papers will also be put on MyUni
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Student participation in lectures is actively encouraged in the form of questions, comments and discussion.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to the two 2-hour classes each week, students are expected to spend an additional 8 hours each week studying the required readings in advance of and then again following each lecture.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Teaching & Learning Activities Related Learning Outcomes
    Lectures 1-4, 6
    Tutorials 1-6

    week topic chapter
    1 Introduction
    2-3 Trade due to technological differences: Ricardo model 1
    4-5 Trade due to endowment differences: Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model 1,2
    6 Trade between similar countries: Krugman model and monopolistic competition 5
    7 Student presentations
    8 Trade in intermediate inputs and trade in tasks: offshoring 4
    9-10 Heterogeneous firms and within-industry adjustments of trade liberalization 6
    11-12 Estimating trade costs and the effects of trade agreements: the gravity equation 4, 6
    Note: This is a tentative time table and subject to change at the discretion of the lecturer, depending on the general progress during class as well as student feedback.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Given the small number in this course, every class period will involve student participation in discussion.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Student presentation/seminar paper


    35% 1-4, 6
    Assignments continuous 25% 1-6
    Final Exam Week TBA 40% 1-4, 6
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The minimum grade to pass this subject is a mark of 50% overall. There are no separate requirements for individual assessments.
    Assessment Detail
    Student presentation/seminar paper 35%

    Depending on class size and at discretion of the lecturer, students either have to prepare a presentation or a seminar paper about a topic (critical summary and analysis of a journal article) related to the content of the course. The due date as well as a list of topics will be will be announced during the lecture.

    Assignments 25%

    Typically, there will be 6 assignments over the semester. The grade for an assignment will be 0, 1, 3 or 5, depending on the quality of the answer provided. Particular attention will be given to the work out of the solutions. May be not all exercises from an assignment will be graded and instead only one exercise from an assignment will be randomly chosen and graded.

    The grading rule typically used is: 0: no attempt to do the assignment, 1: majority of incorrect or undocumented answers, but some effort shown. 3: majority of correct and documented answers. 5: all answers are documented and correct.

    Final Exam 40%

    Typically, there will be a 2 hour exam at the end of the course at a time to be advised. The exam will cover the entire course. This includes all materials from the lectures, assigned textbook, and other readings, as well as discussions and exercises considered in the tutorials. The final exam is worth 40% of the course’s assessment.

    General remarks

    Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are considered to be integral parts of the assessment process. Please note that marks will be deducted in the final examination for poor English expression.

    Grade calculation

    Final student grades will be determined in the following way:

    The final grade will be a weighted average of the grade obtained in the presentation/seminar paper (weight 35%), the final exam (weight 40%) and the grade obtained in the assignments (25%).

    The grade in the assignments is calculated in the following way: Every assignment obtains 0, 1, 3 or 5 points. The points of the best 5 of the 6 assignments are summed up. Hence, the maximum number of points from the assignments will be 25 equalling a mark of 100 for the calculation of the weighted average. Lower obtained points are scaled accordingly.
    Submission of assignments via myuni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M11 (Honours Mark Scheme)
    GradeGrade reflects following criteria for allocation of gradeReported on Official Transcript
    Fail A mark between 1-49 F
    Third Class A mark between 50-59 3
    Second Class Div B A mark between 60-69 2B
    Second Class Div A A mark between 70-79 2A
    First Class A mark between 80-100 1
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Additional Assessment

    If a student receives 45-49 for their final mark for the course they will automatically be granted an additional assessment. This will most likely be in the form of a new exam (Additional Assessment) and will have the same weight as the original exam unless an alternative requirement (for example a hurdle requirement) is stated in this semester’s Course Outline. If, after replacing the original exam mark with the new exam mark, it is calculated that the student has passed the course, they will receive 50 Pass as their final result for the course (no higher) but if the calculation totals less than 50, their grade will be Fail and the higher of the original mark or the mark following the Additional Assessment will be recorded as the final result.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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