Welcome to Econ3613.

This is a summer course in international trade, offered by Saleh S. Tabrizy at the University of Oklahoma, Department of Economics.

The first learning objective of this course is for students to learn how trade affects prices and the allocation of resources across countries, and how nations may gain or lose from trade. The second learning objective of this course is for students to learn about the contemporary challenges in trade policy. To achieve these learning objectives, we start from classical models of trade. At the same time, we survey the ongoing developments in US trade policy. We then study a standard trade model. We continue with new trade models under increasing return to scale. And we conclude our survey by looking at the most recent models that describe firms’ export decisions and multinational production. We further examine selected trade policy instruments such as tariffs and quotas, and we study the welfare effects of such policies. To conclude this course, we examine a selected number of arguments for and against free trade, and we examine the contemporary challenges in trade policy. For more details, you may refer to the syllabus.

This course relies heavily on selected readings from a textbook by Steven Husted and Michael Melvin as well as a textbook by Paul Krugman, Maurice Obstfeld, and Marc Melitz. We also use another textbook by James Gerber. Towards the end of the lecture series, students are introduced to two other books: one by Elhanan Helpman and one by Pol Antras.

The basics

We begin this lecture series by exploring the current state of economic activities across different countries. This part of lecture is based on Chapter 1 in Husted and Melvin’s textbook. Given the outline of that chapter, students are asked to explore the most current data to update some of the key figures that are reported in Husted and Melvin’s book.

Considering the recent developments in US trade policy, we also survey the ongoing events from the beginning of this lecture series. Students will be asked to go over some readings, listen to some net-casts, and engage in in-class discussions and group activities that are designed to improve their understanding of the scope and consequences of ongoing changes in US policy.

Modelling international trade

We begin this section with a brief survey of some analytical tools. This part of lecture is based on Chapter 2 in Husted and Melvin’s textbook.

The above-mentioned tools are useful in modeling international trade. We use those tools to survey two sets of models:

We conclude with this article about Stolper-Samuelson theorem.

Contemporary models

Given what we learned from classical and standard treatments of trade theory, we survey contemporary models:

  • New trade model: lecture presentations and some highlights
    • This part of the lecture is based on Chapter 7 in Krugman, Obstfeld, and Melitz’s textbook.
  • Let’s play a role-playing game
    • You are the elected representatives in a small open economy. Some of you are independent, while others are supported financially by different industries. For instance, the automobile industry pays for some of your campaigns. The rest might be supported by other industry groups; e.g., chemical productions, computer and electronics, metal industry, etc. (Details will be determined in class.) You need to make a decision upon a request by the automobile industry lobby to protect their industry against imports over the next decade, so they could prepare their industry to become  a leading global exporter. How would you vote on this bill?
  • New new trade model: lecture presentation and some highlights
    • This part of the lecture is based on Chapter 8 in Krugman, Obstfeld, and Melitz’s textbook.
    • There is also a required reading.
    • Lastly, a brief comparison between new new, new, and traditional trade theories could be found here.

We conclude this part with a survey of developments in multinational production. These concluding remarks are also based on Chapter 8 in Krugman, Obstfeld, and Melitz’s textbook.

Trade policy

The last part of this lecture series will focus on trade policy, including a brief survey of:

Assessment

There are two exams, a midterm and a final. Previous exam samples include:

When it comes to final letter grade calculation, the exams have 80% weight. For a given student, 45% weight will be allocated to the exam with higher grade, and 35% weight will be allocated to the exam with lower grade. Daily in-class quizzes contribute to the remaining of your final letter grade. For more, refer to the syllabus.