University of Washington
GEOG  349:  Geography of International Trade
Autumn 2009 

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:  TTh 9:30 - 11:20 a.m., Smith Hall 404
Office Hours:  TTh 1:00 - 2:00 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.  To check library reserves online, go to  (You can also find this by going from the UW homepage to "Libraries" to "Electronic Reserves".)



 Ahearne, A. et al.  2007.  Global Imbalances: Time for Action.  Peterson Institute for International     Economics, Policy Brief 07-4.
available online

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.


Bergsten, C.F., Gill, B., Lardy, N.R., and Mitchell, D.  2006.  China in the world economy: opportunity or threat?  Ch.4 in China: The Balance Sheet.  New York:  Public Affairs.


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


  Boughton, J.M. and Bradford, C.I.  2007.  Global governance: new players, new rules.  Finance &
   Development (Dec.): 10-14.

available online

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

OUGL reserve

  Clement, N.C. et al.  1999.  North American Economic Integration: Theory and Practice.  Cheltenham, UK:
   Edward Elgar.

OUGL reserve

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


  Dadush, U. and Nielson, J.  2007.  Governing global trade.  Finance & Development (Dec.):  22-25.

available online

(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.

E-reserve (selected chapters);


OUGL reserve

Davidson, C. and Matusz, S.J.  2004.  International Trade and Labor Markets: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications.  Kalamazoo MI:  W.E. Upjohn Institute.

OUGL reserve

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

Req’d purch

  Elliott, K.A.  2004.  Labor standards, development, and CAFTA.  Policy Brief 04-2, Institute for International  Economics.

available online

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.

OUGL reserve

  Hakim, P. and Litan, R.E., eds.  2002.  The Future of North American Integration.  Washington DC:
   Brookings    Institution Press.

Req’d purch

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

OUGL teserve

  Jensen, J.B. and Kletzer, L.G.  2008.  "Fear" and offshoring: the scope and potential impact of imports and 
   exports of services.  Policy Brief 08-1, Petersen Institute for International Economics.

available online

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.


  MacDonald, L.I., ed.  2000.  Free Trade: Risks and Rewards.  Montreal:  McGill-Queen's University Press.

Req’d purch

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.

OUGL reserve

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

OUGL reserve

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. 

OUGL reserve


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 Amanda Hornby has compiled and the instructor's guide to formatting papers

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

Bradford & Lawrence
Clement et al.
Davidson & Matusz (re labor issues)
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.
Davidson & Matusz (provides empirical work on labor impacts)
Hakim & Litan Ch.2
MacDonald 2000 (all students focusing on Canada must read Hart's chapter for Paper 1;  other chapters will be useful)
MacDonald 2000 Part Four on environmental issues
MacDonald 2003 (re labor issues)

Chinese trade policy issues are discussed by:
Bergsten et al., Ch.4
DRS, pp. 364-7
Guthrie, Chs. 4 & 8

Mexican trade policy issues are discussed by:
Bosworth et al.
Clement et al.
Hakim & Litan Ch.3
MacDonald 2000:  chapters on Mexico;  Part Four on environmental issues

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.

Second paper.  First, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll focus on
  • a sector (e.g., automobiles, clothing, financial services, etc.),
  • an interest (the physical environment or labor), 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). 
Explain what traditional trade theory would suggest are the likely impacts of increased international trade between your country and the US on that sector, interest, or region.  (You'll have to do some reading and thinking to come up with this).  Then, do some empirical research (using peer-reviewed articles or books, or using secondary data collected by national censuses) to assess what the actual impacts have been.  Explain how and why the actual impacts conform or do not conform to expectations drawn from ITT.  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 (5 November and 10 December):  they will not be explicitly cumulative.  Each test will likely employ a range of question formats.

Response papers.  Each student will prepare seven 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. Tuesday 9 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
Response papers 1 & 2 @ 3 pts.
Response papers 3-6, @ 4 points each
2 tests, @ 17 points each
2 papers, @ 20 points each
TOTAL possible points

Total scores (on a scale of 0 - 96) 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
86.5 - 96+  points
3.6 - 4.0
72.0 - 86.4 points
2.5 - 3.5
57.5 - 71.9 points
1.5 - 2.4
48.0 - 57.4 points
0.7 - 1.4
0 - 47.9 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)





Th   10/01


Overviews and intro


Tu 10/06

Global trends

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

Ahearne et al. 2007

RP1:  Relate Thursday’s globalization exercise to Dicken Ch.1 and online notes

Th 10/08

Tu 10/13

International Trade Theory



Economist overview
DRS Ch.6, e-reserve

RP2:  Essay on your background, learning objectives, & country choice 

Th 10/15


Trade policy 
DRS Ch.7, e-reserve

RP3:  Answer q’s on trade theory

Tu 10/20

Th 10/22

Trade policy



Boughton & Bradford 2007
Dadush & Nielson 2007

Jensen & Kletzer 2008



RP4:  Q's re Fallows

Tu 10/27

Economic integration


Economic integration, 1
Economic integration, 2
Dicken, pp.180-4, 187-204
Hakim & Litan Ch.1 & Ch.4
(DRS Ch.8)


Th 10/29

Currency;  exchange rates

Currency markets and foreign exchange
(DRS, pp. 353-63)

Tu 11/03

Paper 1 discussion


 Paper 1 due

Th 11/05

Test 1


 see Review Notes

Tu 11/10

Forms of IB;  FDI

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

Th 11/12

Impact of FDI;

Business policy

Impact of FDI;  Dicken Ch.16

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

Tu 11/17

Sectoral & subnational bases and effects of IT Dicken, pp.13-23;  62-7
Read Barnes or Coughlin & Wall

RP5:  Q's re Barnes or C&W

Th 11/19

International marketing as an example of integrating and implementing strategy

International marketing
DRS Ch. 16, e-reserve


Tu 11/24



Trade logistics
Dicken Ch.14


  Thanksgiving holiday

Tu 12/01

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:  500 words on how a salient aspect of the env’t in your country affects its export patterns or its inward FDI  (more...)
 Corporate strategies,
   national will

  International dimensions of strategic decision making

MNC-Government negotiation


Tu 12/08

and what of labor?

Review session

international human resources

 Elliott 2004
 Larose chapter in MacDonald
 MacDonald 2003

Be prepared to do work in class related to labor issues in international business.

Th 12/10

Test 2

 see review notes for second test


  no class meeting

 Paper 2 due

copyright James W. Harrington, Jr.

revised 3 December 2009