ECN230 International Trade, Policy and Development

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Roberto Javier Garcia

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:

250 hours of which:

there are about 46 hours of in-class sessions (18 lectures, 4 group exercises, and 1 final exam review); and

Self-study, reading, preliminary work towards problem sets, answering follow-up questions and research/writing of the case study accounts for the additional 200 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.

About this course

This course is designed to advance understanding of microeconomic theory by applying it in a multi-country context to address issues related to the global economy and business, e.g., trade, economic development, employment/wages, cross-border labor and capital and returns labor vs capital, income inequality, policy, and welfare analysis. While the emphasis is the microeconomics of international trade, many of the issues to address have macroeconomic consequences (employment, sectoral development and growth). Trade policy (import/export tariffs, quotas, and subsidies) is analyzed from the perspective of different countries (small/large, poor/rich), relying on different economic sectors for growth and development (agriculture, manufacturing or services).

The course has relevance for students in business, agribusiness, finance and commodity market analysis, development economics, international relations and general economics.

A full description of course, lecture plan, course materials, exercises, and past exams are available at the following website:

Learning outcome

Through the required readings and class lectures, and participation in formal group work problems sets and other in-class exercises, the learning outcomes for the student should include the following.


  • An understanding of why nations trade and under which conditions trade occurs;
  • A firm foundation on the role the supply and demand factors play in determining the gains from trade vs the cost of economic adjustment from international competition
  • An understanding of the effects of trade policy have on trade (quantity and world prices), the economy (domestic prices, consumption and production), and the welfare of societal actors (consumer and producer surplus and government revenue/outlay), and how trade (policy) forms a part of strategic behavior
  • An appreciation for the complex relationship that exists between trade in goods and services, and cross-border flows of capital and labor.


  • The ability to construct a general equilibrium model of an economy to perform graphical trade policy analysis of the sectoral impacts as a country liberalizes or restricts trade
  • The ability to construct a partial equilibrium model of a sector by which to perform graphical trade policy analysis of the effect (within and across countries) of liberalizing or restricting trade

General competence

  • The ability to work in small groups on specific tasks related to trade analysis
  • The ability to engage in critical discussion or debate of the interpretation of results after careful reflection on the limitations of the assumptions
  • Learning activities include:

    1. Self study: students are expected to read the assigned sections in the text and the supplementary readings prior to attending lectures and exercise sessions. Video tips for exercises are available as are short videos of selected topics from some lectures. There are also tutorials and presentation slides available at the website.

    2. Lectures: attending lectures is not required, but is considered useful as the exercises and in-class cases are directly related to material presented in class. Given the fluid nature of international relations affecting the global economy, the lectures aim at relating the theory to the current events.

    3. Exercises: there are four problem sets that will be related to the class notes and readings. Students are expected to complete these assignments during exercise sessions on the dates assigned by the instructor. These assignments are intended to monitor the progress of the class in its understanding of the material. These assignments require a passing grade and students can work in groups formed by the instructor. The student can choose to work independently and submit the assignment directly to the instructor by e-mail.

  • A teaching assistant will be available during exercise sessions. The instructor is normally available during exercise sessions and maintains office hours during which a student can seek consultations with the instructor. Should the student prefer to have more feedback on exercises or want to follow up on points made during class lectures, office hours or e-mail contact are appropriate for that purpose.
  • The course is intensive in basic microeconomic principles, which are reviewed during lectures as required. Basic knowledge in microeconomics ECN110 Microeconomics I - How to Think Like an Economist is essential.
  • Final written in-class examination (3 hours) accounts for 100% of the grade. The exam must be answered in English. There are no calculations required and graphs are required only where specified. Graphical analysis can be used throughout as the student prefers.

  • An external examiner will control the quality of syllabus, questions for the final examination, and principles for the assessment of the examination answers.
  • Required activities: 4 problem sets

    There are 4 exercises (problems sets with simple numerical calculations that relate to trade or trade policy analysis). Groups will be assigned to work on the problem sets (and the related questions). Exercise sessions are scheduled in the semester plan during which the course responsible and teaching assistant will be present. Students can choose to work in groups or alone, but the assignment must be submitted (as a group or individually) and approved. Detailed feedback will be given on the submitted work.

    Problem sets are valid until the next time the course is offered and for re-examination.

    The course plan includes four assignment sessions during which students can work on the assignments and consult with a teaching assistant and/or the instructor. The interpretation of the results of the problem sets reinforce the concepts covered in lectures.

  • The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.

    The course is divided into two parts: (1) trade modelling under partial and general equilibrium and (2) trade policy analysis, trade and strategic behavior by government/firm, and international factor movements (capital and labor). Course description, lecture plan, detailed course outline and course materials (web-based readings, exercises, slides, and handouts).

  • Every week, there are 2 meetings of 2 hours each: 18 2-hour lectures sessions and 4 2-hour exercise sessions when a teaching assistant and/or the instructor will be available to help with the problem sets. A 2-hour final exam review session concludes the course.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).