University of Washington
GEOG  349:  Geography of International Trade
Autumn 2007 

Contents of this syllabus:

This content of this course can be expressed as a matrix of theory, policy, practice, and effects of  international trade and foreign direct investment.  

Professor James W. Harrington;  416C Smith Hall;;  206-616-3821;  fax 206-543-3313
Class meetings:  MW, 2:30 - 4:20 p.m., 407 Smith Hall
Office Hours:  MW 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., and by appointment

By the end of the quarter, a highly successful student will:

  1. Be able to articulate learning goals and assess progress toward them.
  2. Learn the basic outlines of world trade patterns, and explain these outlines using international trade theory (ITT).
  3. Use an understanding of ITT and its assumptions to understand and assess the critiques of liberalized trade policy.
  4. Gain empirical grounding in the trade relationships of Canada, China, or Mexico, emphasizing the trade patterns and trends with the United States.
  5. Distinguish the varied forms of international business (IB), and the choice criteria among them.
  6. Ask and begin to answer questions about the logistics of international trade.
  7. Present a nuanced perspective on trade-policy recommendations for the United States and one other country, to benefit each side.

As instructor, my objectives are to:

  • present lectures and on-line notes that provide both substantive content and some synthesis of readings and assignments;
  • design individual and interactive activities that get students to do something and thereby learn the material, in addition to passive listening and reading;
  • give assignments and tests that assess the learning objectives;
  • assess students in ways that reward individual effort while encouraging students' learning from each other.


Meetings and readings.  The course meets twice a week;  each student needs to be at each meeting.  (I will not take attendance, but we'll have frequent in-class exercises).  Read the assigned material before the class;  we will discuss and at times have in-class exercises to reinforce the assigned readings. 

The assigned readings are listed in full below, and are referenced in the Schedule.



Barnes, T.J.  1996.  External shocks: regional implications of an open staple economy.  Ch.3 in Canada and the Global Economy: The Geography of Structural and Technological Change, ed. by J.N.H. Britton.  Montreal & Kingston, Ont.: McGill-Queen’s University Press.


C. Fred Bergsten, Bates Gill, Nicholas R. Lardy, Derek Mitchell.  2006.  China in the world economy: opportunity or threat?  Ch.4 in China: The Balance Sheet.  New York:  Public Affairs


Britton, J.N.H., ed.  1996.  Canada and the Global Economy: The Geography of Structural and Technological Change.  Montreal & Kingston, Ont.: McGill-Queen’s University Press.


Bosworth, B.P., Collins, S.M., and Lustig, N.C., eds.  1997.  Coming Together? Mexico-United States Relations.  Washington DC:  Brookings Institution Press. 


Bradford, S.C. and Lawrence, R.Z.  2004.  Has Globalization Gone Far Enough? The Costs of Fragmented Markets.  Washington DC:  Institute for International Economics. 


Clement, N.C. et al.  1999.  International integration: theory and practice.  Ch. 2 in North American Economic Integration: Theory and Practice.  Cheltenham UK:  Edward Elgar.




Coughlin, C.C. and Wall, H.J.  2003.  NAFTA and the changing pattern of state exports.  Papers in Regional Science 82(4): 427-450. 


(DRS)  Daniels, J.D., Radebaugh, L.H., and Sullivan, D.P.  2007.  International Business: Environments and Operations, 11th ed.  Upper Saddle River NJ:  Pearson Prentice Hall. 

Opt’l purch;


Davidson, C. and Matusz, S.J.  2004.  An overview of the issue.  Ch.1 in International Trade and Labor Markets: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications.  Kalamazoo MI:  W.E. Upjohn Institute. 



Dicken, P.  2007.  Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, 5th ed.  New York:  Guilford Press. 

Req’d purch

Fallows, J.  2007.  China makes, the world takes.  The Atlantic 300(1): 48-72. 


Guthrie, D.  2006.  China and Globalization: The Social, Economic, and Political Transformation of Chinese Society.  New York:  Routledge. 


Hart, M.  2002.  A Trading Nation: Canadian Trade Policy from Colonialism to Globalization.  Vancouver BC:  UBC Press. 


Kletzer, L.G.  2002.  Understanding the links between increasing foreign competition and domestic employment and job loss.  Ch. 2 in Imports, Exports, and Jobs: What Does Trade Mean for Employment and Job Loss?  Kalamazoo MI:  W.E. Upjohn Institute. 


book at OUGL

MacDonald, I.T.  2003.  NAFTA and the emergence of continental labor cooperation.  The American Review of Canadian Studies 33(2): 173-196. 


Rodrik, D.  1996.  Labor standards in international trade: do they matter and what do we do about them?  Ch.2 in Emerging Agenda for Global Trade: High Stakes for Developing Countries, ed. by R.Z. Lawrence, D. Rodrik, and J. Whalley.  Washington DC:  Overseas Development Council. 


Rodrik, D.  1997.  Has Globalization Gone Too Far?  Washington DC:  Institute for International Economics. 


Silva, J.A. and Leichenko, R.M.  2004.  Regional income inequality and international trade.  Economic Geography 80(3): 261-286. 


Whalley, J.  1996.  Trade and environment, the WTO, and the developing countries.  Ch.3 in Emerging Agenda for Global Trade: High Stakes for Developing Countries, ed. by R.Z. Lawrence, D. Rodrik, and J. Whalley.  Washington DC:  Overseas Development Council. 



Papers.  There are two research-paper assignments, which will move students toward the learning objectives.  You'll want to make use of the information resources that specialist librarian Anne Zald has compiled and the instructor's guide to formatting papers

First paper.  What are at least two key activities (sectors, products, or stages of production) in which your country seems to have comparative advantage (especially with respect to the US)?  How did you decide this and support this?  What are the bases for these advantages (they could be based on factors or policy)?   Characterize the trade policy of your country, especially with respect to the US.  Use materials referenced in this syllabus, data sources available through UW Libraries, and at least three additional good references.  Try to limit your writing to 2500 words.

In addition to readings assigned for specific class meetings, general trade policy issues are discussed by:

Bradford & Lawrence
Dicken, Chs.17-19
Economist series
Rodrik 1996 (re labor issues)
Rodrik 1997
Whalley in Lawrence et al. (re environmental issues)

Canadian trade issues (including some subnational, regional issues) are discussed by:
Clement et al.
MacDonald (re labor issues)

Chinese trade policy issues are discussed by:
Bergsten et al., Ch.4
Guthrie, Chs. 4 & 8

Mexican trade policy issues are discussed by:
Bosworth et al.
Clement et al.

Second paper.  First, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll focus on a sector (e.g., automobiles, clothing, financial services, etc.) or a subnational region (e.g., Canada’s oil and gas region, Canada’s manufacturing belt, China’s southeast or northeast, Mexico’s border regions, northern provinces, or agricultural south).  What are the likely and the measured impacts of changes in your country’s international trade (especially but not necessarily its bilateral trade with the US) on that sector or region?  Explain why this finding conforms or does not conform to expectations drawn from ITT.  What trade, foreign investment, or internal policies has your country developed to try to reduce the negative impacts and increase the positive impacts of trade on this sector or region?  Describe one policy, its success to date, and any difficulties it has had or will likely have.  Use materials referenced in this syllabus (see the suggestions above;  Part 3 of Dicken's book provides global overviews of several sectors), information resources available through UW Libraries, and at least three additional good references.  Try to limit your writing to 2500 words.

Tests.  There will be two in-class tests (24 October and 5 December):  they will not be explicitly cumulative.  Each test will likely employ a range of question formats.

Response papers.  Each student will prepare six 250-500-word responses to questions that I will provide to guide your reading of assigned articles (see the schedule of topics and assignments, below).  These are due at the beginning of the relevant class meeting, during which we will discuss the responses in groups.


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).  Other assignments are due at the beginning of the specified class period;  20% of the assignment's value will be deduced for material submitted after the specified class but by the following class period;  50% of the assignment's value will be deducted for material submitted later than this, until 5:00 p.m. Monday 10 December.

Final grades.  The final grade for the course will be calculated as follows.  Each graded item 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.

Table 1:  Schedule of Assignments and Points
Bonus point
First response paper
5 response papers, @ 4 points each
2 tests, @ 18 points each
2 papers, @ 20 points each
TOTAL possible 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:  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;  optional reading in parentheses)





W   9/26


Overviews and intro


M 10/01

Global trends

Dicken, Ch.1;  bring Dicken Ch.2 to class.

RP1:  Relate Wed’s globalization exercise to Dicken Ch.1 and online notes (250 words)

RP2:  Essay on background, learning objectives, & country choice (500 words)

W 10/03

M 10/08

International Trade Theory




Economist overview
Clement, Ch.2, pp. 23-37
Kletzer, Ch.2
(DRS Ch.6)

RP3:  Answer q’s on Clement & Kletzer

W 10/10


Trade policy 

Dicken, pp.184-7
Clement, Ch.2, pp. 37-46

(DRS Ch.7)


M 10/15

W 10/17

Trade policy;

regional integration



Economic integration
Clement, Ch.2, pp.47-54
Dicken, pp.180-4, 187-204
(DRS Ch.8)


M 10/22

Trade policy


Clement, Ch.2, pp. 58-66
Davidson & Matusz, Ch.1

 RP4:  Q's re Fallows

W 10/24



 see Review Notes

M 10/29

Paper 1



W 10/31

Currency;  exchange rates

Currency markets and foreign exchange
Clement, Ch.2, pp. 54-58

M 11/05

Sectoral & subnational bases and effects of IT;
no office hour today

Dicken, pp.13-23;  62-7
read Barnes or Coughlin & Wall (see assignment)

RP5:  Q's re Barnes or C&W

W 11/07

Forms of IB;  FDI

Forms &  contexts
Dicken, pp.106-17
(DRS Ch.14)


M 11/12

Veterans’ Day holiday



W 11/14

Impact of FDI

Business policy

Impact of FDI;  Dicken Ch.16

webnotes on strategic thinking and international operations;  Dicken, pp.153-68


M 11/19

no class meeting;  office hour will be held


W 11/21

International marketing


International marketing as an example of integrating and implementing strategy


M 11/26




Trade logistics
Dicken Ch.14

W 11/28

International environments

Finalizing papers:  Q’s, library time

Environments and Impacts of IB
Dicken, Ch.7
(DRS Chs.2-4)
Also see referenced readings relevant to your country.

RP6:  250 words on how a salient aspect of the env’t in your country affects its export patterns or its inward FDI

M 12/03

Final comments; 
Review session


W 12/05

Test 2

 see review notes for second test

Second paper due

copyright James W. Harrington, Jr.
revised 29 November 2007