University of Washington-Tacoma
T GEOG  349:  Geography of International Trade
Winter 2014 

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;  GWP 312;;  253-692-5646
Class meetings:  TTh 4:15-6:20pm, JOY 206
Office Hours:  by appointment

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

  1. Learn the basic outlines of world trade patterns, and
  2. Explain these outlines using neoclassical and "new" international trade theory (ITT).
  3. Understand the basic tools of international trade policy.
  4. Meet the challenge of finding and interpreting trade data, using statistical sources and basic concepts.
  5. Explore the empirical relationships among institutional structures, technological change, currency movements, domestic policies, and the changing patterns of international trade.
  6. Distinguish the varied forms of international business (IB), and the choice criteria among them.
  7. Ask and begin to answer questions about the logistics of international trade and supply chains.
  8. Be able to articulate her/his own learning goals relevant to the course, and assess progress toward them.

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".)  Several of the articles below are available online through the UW Libraries links to electronic journals. (You have to log into the Libraries website using your UWNetID.)



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.  (Later editions are fine, as well.)

(selected chapters);
Opt’l purch

Davis, S.J. and Caldeira, K.  2010.  Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (12): 5687-92.

available online
Dicken, P.   2011. Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, 6th ed. New York: Guilford Press.

Opt'l purch

Fallows, J. 2007. China makes, the world takes.The Atlantic 300(1): 48-72.
Note: This is in the July-August 2007 issue.

UW Libraries;
Atlantic Monthly site
Fallows, J.  2012.  Mr. China comes to America.  The Atlantic, December.

available online
Fishman, C.  2012.  The insourcing boom.  The Atlantic, December.

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.
Kletzer, L.G. 2002. Conclusions and policy implications. Ch. 8 in Imports, Exports, and Jobs: What Does Trade Mean for Employment and Job Loss? Kalamazoo MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute.

book at UWT

Leichenko, R.M.  2000.  Exports, employment, and production: a causal assessment of U.S. states and regions.  Economic Geography 76(4): 303-325. UW Libraries
Ludwig, H. and Spiegel, E.  2014.  America's real manufacturing advantage.  Strategy and Business 74 (Spring)
available online
Peters, G.P., et al.  2011.  Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (21): 8903-8.
available online
Rivoli, P.  2009.  The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, sec. ed.  Hoboken NJ:  Wiley.

available at UBookstore
Sen, S.  2010.  International Trade Theory and Policy: A Review of the Literature.  Woking Paper 635.  Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: Levy Economics Institute.

available online
US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.  2012.  A Basic Guide to Exporting, 11th ed.  Washington DC.
available online and
in UBookstore
Waldkirch, A.  2010.  The effects of foreign direct investment in Mexico since NAFTA.  The World Economy 33(5): 710-745. UW Libraries
Weissmann, J. 2011.  Get ready for manufacturing's big comeback.  The Atlantic, December.

available online
Weissmann, J.  2012.  China takes aim at the profitable heart of U.S. manufacturing.  The Atlantic, April.

available online


Papers.  There are two short research-paper assignments to help students toward the learning objectives.  Select one country (not the US) for both papers.  You'll want to make use of the information resources compiled by the UWT Library, and the instructor's guide to formatting papers and useful links.  We will discuss your progress and problems with your papers in small groups in class -- it's fine to seek help in approaching your topic or finding data.  However, the work you turn in must be your own work and your own words:  more than three words from any source besides your head must be put in quotes, to avoid concerns over plagiarism.

Use data sources available through UW Libraries, and at least five good references for each paper (for example, if you start your investigation with Wikipedia, go further -- read and use the sources cited, rather than the Wikipedia entry).  Limit your final versions to 1500 words each, plus tables (which should be created for the paper, rather than copied from large published tables). 

First paper.  Identify your country's largest trade partners, export sectors, and import sectors for as recent a year as possible.  Given the relative factor intensities (refer to Kowalski 2011) of your country's exports and imports, what seem your country's sources of comparative advantage.  Describe your country's trade policies:  are key exports promoted by national policies (subsidies, R&D, trade agreements)?  Are key sectors protected from foreign imports? See the linked grading rubric for this paper.

Second paper.  Identify one important export from the US to your country.  This could be a finished product, a service, or an input (such as the US cotton exported to China to make yarn and T-shirts -- but don't use this example, since much of our class reading and viewing focuses on it).  Where in the US is this export likely produced?  What comparative advantage and/or public subsidy allows the US to successfully export this item?  How is this item marketed internationally?  How do US Federal or State governments promote the development, production, or export of this product or service?  See the linked grading rubric for this paper.

Tests.  There will be two in-class tests (6 February and 13 March):  they will not be explicitly cumulative.  Each test will likely employ a range of question formats.

Response papers.  Each student will prepare eight 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. Wednesday 19 March.

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 1-8 @ 4 points each 32
2 tests, @ 16 points each 32
2 papers, @ 12 points each 24
In-class activities
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
86.5 - 100  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 re-register 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)





Tu   1/07


US Perspectives
The Economist, overview

Th 1/09

Inductive theorizing about trade flows

WTO Int'l Trade Stats 2013

Inductive Theorizing about Trade

RP1:  Respond to questions re WTO Int'l Trade Stats 2013

Tu 1/14

International Trade Theory (ITT)


ITT notes

Sen 2010
(DRS Ch.6, e-reserve)

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

 Applicability of ITT; 
 New trade theory
 Leontief paradox

OECD's attempt to improve estimates of trade flows

 New trade theory video
 RP3:  Answer Q's on trade theory

Tu 1/21

Information resources

Identify likely data sources for Paper 1

Th 1/23

Trade policy



Trade policy 

Rivoli Ch.9

(DRS Ch.7)

RP4: Relate the policy measures described in Rivoli Ch. 9 to the trade policy instruments in the online notes.

Tu 1/28  Other influences on trade Planet Money, "Machines"

Rivoli Ch.5

Currency markets and foreign exchange
 RP5 on institutional structures (from Rivoli)

Th 1/30

Other influences on trade


Rivoli Ch. 1
Planet Money "The Last T-Shirt in Colombia"

RP6 on the Planet Money podcast

Tu 2/04

Finding and using trade data

Review for test

Complete all data collection for Paper 1

Economic integration notes
Opt'l notes on integration

Turn in your basic data: what are your country's major exports, imports, and trading partners?

Th 2/06

Test 1

Review Notes


 Sunday 2/09
 No class meeting

 Paper 1 due by midnight (12AM Mon)

Tu 2/11

Review test answers

Effects of trade on national and sub-national economies


Fallows 2007
The Prato textile district

Fire in the Prato
NAFTA at 20

NAFTA in Canada

NAFTA in Mexico
(Dicken, pp.106-17)

In-class learning from Paper 1

Th 2/13

International labor

NAFTA's impact on labor

Rivoli Chs. 6-8

RP7 on Rivoli

Tu 2/18

The physical environment
Davis & Caldiera 2010

2012 overview notes

Th 2/20

Drawing conclusions

Strategic choice among forms of international business
Rivoli "Conclusion"

Forms &  contexts

(Dicken Ch.14)
In-class discussion and writing

Tu 2/25

Strategic management

strategic thinking and
international operations

International dimensions of strategic decision making

"That 'Made in USA' Premium"

Th 2/27

Global supply chain management DRS Ch.17 (read sufficiently to be able to answer these questions)

Fallows 2012

Fishman 2012


International marketing as an example of integrating and implementing strategy

International marketing
(DRS Ch. 16)
 RP8:  Questions from Fallows 2007 & 2012
 no class meeting

  Tu    ..3/11
 Export logistics

 Catch-up and review
Trade logistics

The Economist on trade logistics


Th 3/13

 Test 2

 review notes for second test

  no class meeting

 Paper 2 due (see grading rubric)

copyright James W. Harrington, Jr.

revised 8 March 2014