BSc Economics

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
International Trade and Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code ECON32191
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit studies how international trade affects the economy and how growth, inequalities, and organisations of firms are affected when a country opens up to trade. We will discuss political economy of trade policies and why international trade is usually a contentious topic among countries. By the end of the course unit, you will learn how to explain and contrast different trade models and explain real-life scenarios using different tools you learn in class.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Microeconomic Analysis 3 ECON20501 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 3 ECON20021 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Managerial Economics I ECON20001 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 3 ECON30021 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomic Analysis 3 ECON30501 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
ECON20001 OR ECON20501 OR ECON30501 OR ECON20021 OR ECON30021

ECON20001 OR ECON20501 OR ECON30501 OR ECON20021 OR ECON30021


The aims of this course are to:

1.     Study the basic facts of international trade flows.

2.     Discuss different international trade theories, their empirical evidence and policy implications.

3.     Introduce methods for trade policy analysis.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course unit. it is expected that you will be able to:

1.     Understand the causes and effects of international trade.

2.     Evaluate the welfare impacts of trade policies.

3.     Demonstrate an understanding of various contemporary issues in trade, such as trade and growth, industrialisation, inequalities and global production structure.



Topic 1: The Ricardian Model and Comparative Advantage

Topic 2: The Heckscher-Ohlin Model

Topic 3: Trade and Inequalities: Is Free Trade a Rip-Off?

Topic 4: Intra-Industry Trade and the Monopolistic Competition Models

Topic 5: Heterogeneous Firms and the Organisation of Firms

Topic 6: Trade Policy Instruments: Welfare Impacts and Political Economy

Topic 7: Gravity Model and Policy Analyses

Teaching and learning methods

Synchronous activities (such as Lectures or Review and Q&A sessions, and tutorials), and guided self-study

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Understand the motivation from data and why we need different economic models. How to use existing models to understand past and current events in the world economy.
Problem solving
Group Work

Assessment methods

30%      Assignments

70%      Exam


Feedback methods

       Feedback from problem sets.

       Tutorial feedback.

       Office hours.

       Revision sessions.

Recommended reading

Krugman, P., Obstfeld, M., and Melitz, M.J. 2018. International Trade: Theory and Policy (or equivalently, International Economics: Theory and Policy, Ch.1-12), 11th Edition, Pearson.

McLaren, J. 2013. International Trade, 1st Edition, John Wiley & Sons.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Hei Sing Chan Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For every 10 course unit credits we expect students to work for around 100 hours. This time generally includes any contact times (online or face to face, recorded and live), but also independent study, work for coursework, and group work. This amount is only a guidance and individual study time will vary

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