MSc Development Finance

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Globalisation, Trade and Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60271
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The Lecture Programme will include:
1: Analytical Approaches to Global Institutions (Public and Private) and Trade Policy
2: The 'Washington Consensus': Trade Liberalisation and the IMF and World Bank
3: The Multilateral Trading System: GATT to the WTO to the Doha Round
4: WTO: Intellectual Property, the TRIPs Agreement and Dispute Settlement issues
5: EU and Regional Trade Agreements
6: International Labour Organisation, Labour Standards and the 'Social Clause'
7: Global Standards and Voluntary Certification
8: Corporate Social Accountability, Fair Trade and Ethical Trade
9: Rising Powers in Global Institutions and the Governance of Trade Rules
10: The Ethica Game: A role play game on Trade Rules, Global Competitiveness and International Development


The objective of this course is to analyse current issues, policy debates and theories relating to interactions between public and private global institutions and global trade rules, and the consequences that arise from this for development processes in the Global South. In today’s highly integrated world economy, national governments no longer have full control over their strategies for development and industrialisation. At the same time we are confronted with new and emergent challenges, from meeting international labour standards to addressing climate change, which require global responses. International institutions like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as private corporations and non-governmental organisations increasingly play important roles in shaping the ‘rules’ of trade and thus the developmental experiences of developing countries. The emphasis of this course is on the challenges and opportunities that these international actors and new global trading rules bring to development policy and outcomes.

The first part of the course focuses on ‘public’ global institutions and their impacts on trade rules and development. The second part of the course turns to the influence of ‘private’ institutions. The third part will consider the role of the Rising Powers (the likes of China, India and Brazil) in shaping the dynamics of new trade rules, and its consequences for global governance. Thus, the course will focus on: the role of government in industrial development in a globalised world economy; structural adjustment programmes of World Bank and IMF and their impacts on development policy; the role of MNCs and the effects of outsourcing by global buyers and integration into global production networks on export strategies in developing countries; new trading issues in the WTO and EU and their impact on developing countries; the role of global standards, especially labour standards, fair trade, in local patterns of development and global production networks.

The lectures will draw on most recent developments and debates, the regional and country experiences, and theoretical grounds of the subjects.

Teaching and learning methods

This module draws on a range of teaching and learning strategies, from lectures, classroom discussions and independent learning by students. Most two hour sessions will be predominantly lecture based. Questions and student participation are encouraged and welcomed. Students are expected to have completed the required readings for each session. There will also be five 2 hour tutorials for more in-depth discussion on core readings.

Knowledge and understanding

  • A comprehensive knowledge of the main theoretical and analytical approaches relating to global institutions (public and private) and trade policy in developing and emerging economies
  • An awareness of the interactions between global institutions, new trade rules and national policymaking in developing countries
  • An awareness of the role of public and private actors in the formulation of export strategies, trade policy and trade regimes
  • An understanding of developments in the area of international standards and corporate social accountability
  • A critical appreciation of the role of multinational corporations and questions relating to technological capability building and value chain upgrading.
  • A critical awareness of the basis of Fair Trade and Alternative Trading Systems

Intellectual skills

  • Critical reading skills, including synthesis and critique of literature
  • Engagement with and participation in key debates on international trade
  • Critical thinking and analytical writing skills through the composition of an essay engaging with a course-related theme

Practical skills

  • Abilities to locate critical literatures
  • Develop practical understanding of key debates in trade policy and their implications for international development
  • Acquire presentation skills though seminars and case study presentations
  • Develop capacity to undertake group-based work
  • Ability to produce high-quality written work

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Analytical abilities and engagement with key bodies of critical literatures
  • Develop practical understanding of key debates in trade policy and their implications for international development
  • Acquire presentation skills though seminars and case study presentations
  • Develop capacity to undertake group-based work

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%
Set exercise 25%

Recommended reading

There are no standard textbooks for this module however the following general references are useful readings.

Barrientos, S and Dolan, C (2006) Ethical Sourcing in the Global Food System, Earthscan, London.

Chang, H.J. (ed.) (2003) Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press

Dasgupta, B. (1998) Structural Adjustment, Global Trade and the New Political Economy of Development, Zed Books

Dicken, P. (2011) Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, 6 th ed., Sage.

Gruber, L. (2000) Ruling the world: Power politics and the rise of supranational Institutions, Princeton University Press.

Hoekman, B. and Mavroidis, P (2007) World Trade Organisation: Law, Economics and Politics, Routledge.

Jenkins, R., Pearson, R and Seyfang, G (2002) Corporate Responsibility and Labour Rights, Codes of conduct in the Global Economy, Earthscan.

Peet, R. (2009) Unholy Trinity: the IMF, World Bank and WTO, Zed: London.

Wilkinson, R. (2014) What’s wrong with the WTO and how to fix it, Polity Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 110

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Shamel Azmeh Unit coordinator

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