University of Washington
GEOG  349:  Geography of International Trade (focus on North America)
Autumn 2004 

Contents of this syllabus:
Course overviews
Schedule (with links to lecture notes and readings)

The fundamental rationale for trade is to gain from comparative advantage, though there are important political motivations, as well.  The bases for comparative advantage are geographic, economic, and institutional.  The degree to which a particular country gains from trade with a potential partner also depends on geography (logistics), economics (costs and prices), and institutions (policies and practices in the internal economies and regulating international relations).  Further, geography, economics, and institutions determine the social and geographic distribution of gains from trade, within each country.  Canada and the U.S. provide important empirical examples of the geographic, economic, and political bases for the patterns, policies, and impacts of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).

From this course, students should:

Professor James W. Harrington;  408 Smith Hall;;  206-616-3821;  fax 206-543-3313
Class meetings:  TTh, 10:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m., 105 Smith Hall
Office Hours:  by appointment (e-mail Prof. Harrington)


Meetings and readings.  The course meets twice a week.  Read the assigned material before the class;  we will discuss the assigned readings.  The assigned readings include:

  • the instructor's on-line notes (which will be linked to this syllabus in the Schedule section);
  • two required specialized books and two optional textbooks available at University Book Store [UBS], 4326 University Way NE, 206-634-3400;
  • several on-line articles that are linked to this syllabus;  and
  • five articles or chapters available to be copied at Rams Copy Center, 4144 University Way NE, 206-632-6630.
  • All the assigned readings are listed below.
    Writing assignments.  There are three short writing assignments.  We'll discuss these assignments and your results in class, and you should make use of the website established to identify library resources, the website established to identify international statistical data sources, the course's site of potentially useful resource links to www materials and print information sources, and  the instructor's guide to formatting papers.

    For Tuesday 5 October, write an approximately 500-word statement that answers these questions (and subquestions):

    For Tuesday 26 October, write an approximately 750-word paper (plus tables) that provides an overview of patterns (e.g., sectors, bilateral balences) and trends of Canada-US trade and FDI, through as much of the second half of the 20th century as possible.  Briefly, what seem to be the sectors and sources of comparative advantage of each country -- so far as this is indicated by their bilateral trade?

    For information about Canadian trade policies and statistics, and the Canada-U.S. trade relationship, see the Canada section of this courses links page.

    For Tuesday 23 November, write an approximately 1300-word paper on the development of trade policy in Canada, during the 20th century, with a major focus on North America:

    An alternative topic for 23 November:  analyze the effect of NAFTA on a particular economic sector in Canada or the US:  what effect would you expect?  why?  What effect has been seen so far, by what researchers, using what methodologies?  You should make reference to at least five research-based references.  Also see links to sites on sectoral trade data.  [Dicken's Part 3 has several global sectoral studies].

    Participation.  Be prepared to ask and answer questions about the readings, lectures, and your projects.  In addition, we will have structured discussions on 5 October and 9 and 16 November:  your presence and participation are very important.

    Tests.  There will be two in-class tests:  they will not be explicitly cumulative.  Each test will likely employ a range of question formats.


    Grades on tests and assignments.  Each test and assignment will be graded on a percentage basis.  Content, clarity, writing, and format all count in the grading of the assignments.  Be especially careful about plagiarism:  more than three words in the order you read them somewhere else (including on the WWW, including my own lecture notes) must be set off in quotation marks and given a full citation.

    Late assignments.  Tests must be taken on the scheduled day, except by prior arrangement with the instructor or ex post written communication with the instructor based on illness (in this latter circumstance, the instructor will need documentation of your illness or that of someone in your care;  this will be handled on a case-by-case basis).  Assignments received after 5:00 p.m. on the day following the due date will be penalized by 20 percentage points (e.g., a two-day-late assignment that is judged to be 85% successful would receive 65% credit);  assignments 7 or more days after the due date will be penalized by 40 percentage points.  Because of the deadlines for grading, the instructor cannot accept any material after 5:00 p.m. Wednesday 15 December.

    Final grades.  The final grade for the course will be calculated as follows.  Each graded item (participation, three tests and three assignments) can contribute up to a specified number of points toward the quarter's total that can equal up to 100 points.  Each student’s final grade reflects the number of these 100 points the student has earned during the quarter.
    Assignment 1
      5 points
    Test 1
    23 points
    Assignment 2
    12 points
    Test 2
    23 points
    Assignment 3
    25 points
    Scheduled Discussions
      8 points
    Other Participation
      4 points


    Total scores (on a scale of 0 - 100) will translate into final grades (on a scale of 0.0 - 4.0) approximately according to the  scale below (Table 2):  the instructor may be more lenient than this. 

    Table 2:  Schedule of Points and Grades
    90 - 100 points
    3.6 - 4.0
    75 - 89 points
    2.5 - 3.5
    60 -74 points
    1.5 - 2.4
    50 - 59 points
    0.7 - 1.4
    0 - 50 points
    Incomplete work.  [From the University Registrar's website]  A grade of “I” (Incomplete) is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control. To obtain credit for the course, an undergraduate student must convert an Incomplete into a passing grade no later than the last day of the next quarter. The student should never reregister for the course as a means of removing the Incomplete. An Incomplete grade not made up by the end of the next quarter is converted to the grade of 0.0 by the Registrar unless the instructor has indicated, when assigning the Incomplete grade, that a grade other than 0.0 should be recorded if the incomplete work is not completed. The original Incomplete grade is not removed from the permanent record.

    SCHEDULE  (with links to on-line notes)

    Thursday 30 September
    Overviews of International Business
    Clement et al., pp. 93-4
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch. 1

    Tuesday 5 October
    Trends in Canada-US Trade & Investment
    Dicken, Ch. 3
    Britton, Ch.1
    follow link to statistical website
    Report on the state of Canadian trade
    First assignment is due Tuesday 5 October

    Thursday-Thursday 7-14 October
    International Trade Theory
    Clement et al., pp. 23-7
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch. 5;  Dicken pp.73-77, 183-4.

    Tuesday 19 October
    Comparative Advantage, Competitive Advantage, and Competitiveness
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, pp. 161-163;  Dicken, pp. 140-144

    Thursday 21 October
    Dynamic Comparative Advantage in a Resource-Based Economy: The Case of Canada
    Britton (Ch.1)

    Tuesday 26 October
    International Trade Policy
    Clement et al., pp. 37-46
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch.6;  Dicken, pp. 129-140
    Second assignment is due Tuesday 26 October

    Thursday 28 October
    Economic Integration
    Clement et al., pp. 47-52
    Curtis & Ciuriak, pp.71-80 & 91-105
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch.7;  Dicken, pp.144-162

    Tuesday 2 November
    FIRST  TEST  (review sheet)

    Thursday 4 November
    Forms of International Business
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch. 8 and pp. 419-429
    FDI: Motivations and Impacts
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch. 8;   Dicken, pp. 202-212, 278-304
    assign the 9 & 16 November discussions

    Tuesday 9 November
    Multilateral Institutions
    Brainard & Shapiro
    Stiglitz, Ch.1
    optional reading:  Larson

    Thursday 11 November
    HOLIDAY:  No class meeting

    Tuesday 16 November
    Exchange Rates
    Clement et al., pp. 53-66
    see links (1, 2) to data on exchange rates
    Stiglitz, Ch.4
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Chs. 9, 10

    Thursday 18 November
    No class meeting

    Tuesday 23 November
    discussion of the ways in which formal and informal institutions affect trade. investment, and the gains from trade
    discussion of findings from the third assignment:  whither Canadian trade policy?
    Clement et al., pp.103-15
    Dicken, Ch. 16
    Third assignment is due Tuesday 23 November

    Thursday 25 November
    HOLIDAY:  No class meeting

    Tuesday 30 November
    International Business in Practice:  Getting Traded Goods and Trade Documents from Here to There
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch.17 & 18;   Dicken, Ch. 8

    Thursday 2 December
    International Business in Practice:  Trade LogisticsInternational Logistics
    optional reading:  Daniels and Radebaugh, Ch.17 & 18;   Dicken, Ch. 8

    Tuesday 7 December
    Governance of International Trade
    Brainard & Shapiro
    Clement et al., pp.251-316
    Stiglitz, Ch. 9
    optional reading:  Larson
    optional (excellent) reading:  Dicken, Ch.18

    Thursday 9 December
    SECOND  TEST  (review sheet)

    copyright James W. Harrington, Jr.
    revised 1 December 2004