Thursday, January 2, 2014

My International Trade Policy Course: Description & Syllabus

As eagerly mentioned a while ago, I'll be teaching an undergraduate course at Duke University this semester on international trade policy and politics.  For those of you who aren't lucky enough to be Duke students (or live in the area and have the ample time/energy needed to audit the course), I've posted the syllabus below after the jump with the basic course descrption and materials.  As you'll see, almost all of the materials that we'll be covering in class are available for free online, so you can poke around the links and follow along if you're so inclined.  (Or you can just complain vociferously about my obvious confirmation bias - whatever floats your boat.)


POLSCI 335S-01: Spring 2014

Overview: The course surveys the theories and institutions (domestic and multilateral) that drive international trade policy, politics and economics. Using practical examples like the iPhone, the course examines the pervasive myths and basic law and economics of modern international trade, including trade balances, tariffs, trade remedies, “trade wars,” the “decline” of American manufacturing, global supply chains, outsourcing, the “race to the bottom,” unilateral import liberalization, and reciprocal trade agreements. The course also examines the origins and current state of U.S. trade politics - why, despite overwhelming economic and empirical evidence in support of free trade, do protectionist policies persist and many Americans remain skeptical of trade liberalization? In the process, the course explores U.S. trade policy's “dirty little secrets” and nations' compliance with the bilateral and multilateral rules governing international trade, and considers the moral case for free trade, regardless of its economic or political benefits.

Schedule of Class Meetings and Assignments:
Class introduction and overview.
Readings, grades, assignments, and expectations.
Milton Friedman, “Lesson of the Pencil”:
Leonard Read, “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read,” A selected essay reprint, 1999:
NPR, “Planet Money Makes a T-shirt,” December 2013: (all)
Milton Friedman and Rose D. Friedman , “The Case for Free Trade,” The Hoover Digest, October 30, 1997:
Don Boudreaux, “Free Trade vs. Protectionism,” August 31, 2011:
Dani Rodrik, “Free Trade Blinders,” March 9, 2012:
Joseph Stiglitz, “Distant voices,” The Guardian, March 11, 2004,
Edward Alden, “Behind the New View of Globalization,” New York Times Economix Blog,
Simon Lester, “Review of Dani Rodrik, ‘The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy,’” World Trade Review, June 28, 2011:
1/21Key Concepts: Economics, Policy and PoliticsFrédéric Bastiat, “The Balance of Trade”: 13; and “A Negative Railroad”:, Ch.17, A Negative Railroad
Arnold Kling, “International Trade,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. December 2007:
Paul Krugman, “Ricardo’s difficult idea” (paper for Manchester conference on Free Trade, March 1997):
Economist surveys on trade:
Milton Friedman, “Free Trade and the Steel Industry”
William F. Shughart II, “Public Choice.” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, December 2007:
Trade Protectionism (for the Encyclopedia of Public Choice), edited by Charles K. Rowley, June 11, 2002:
Bryan Caplan, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies,” Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 594, May 29, 2007: (pp. 1-19)
1/28Trade Law and Institutions (U.S.)United States Constitution, Art. I, § 8, Art. II § 2:
Emily C. Barbour, “Trade Law: An Introduction to Selected International Agreements and U.S. Laws,” Congressional Research Service, January 14, 2011: (pp. 48-65)
World Trade Organization, “U.S. Trade Policy Review,” 2013: (Secretariat Report, Sec. II – “Trade and Investment Regimes”)
K. William Watson, “Republicans and Media Confused about Fast Track,” Cato Institute Blog, November 14, 2013:
K. William Watson, “Stay Off the Fast Track: Why Trade Promotion Authority Is Wrong for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Cato Institute Free Trade Bulletin No. 56, December 19, 2013:
2/4Trade Law and Institutions (Global)World Trade Organization, Information and External Relations Division, “Understanding the WTO,” 2011: (pp 1-26).
Jeanne J. Grimmett, “Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization (WTO): An Overview,” Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2011: (pp 1-13)
Scott Lincicome, “Do Free Trade Agreements Undermine US Sovereignty? (Hint: No)”, Blog, February 13, 2011: (all, including Mad About Trade insert)
Scott Lincicome, “Destroying Disingenuous Allegations that the WTO is ‘Anti-health,’” Blog, April 18, 2012:
Modern U.S. Trade Politics & Policy: Protectionism Persists
Daniel J. Ikenson and Scott Lincicome, “Audaciously Hopeful: How President Obama Can Help Restore the Pro-Trade Consensus,” Cato Institute, Trade Policy Analysis No. 39, April 28, 2009:
Scott Lincicome, “The Idiocy and Immorality of American Tariffs,” Blog, October 10, 2009;
United States International Trade Commission, “The Economic Effects of Significant U.S. Import Restraints: Eighth Update,” Inv. No. 332-325, USITC Publication 4440, December 2013: (Executive Summary and Chapter 1).
United States Customs and Border Protection, “Import Trade Trends: Fiscal Year 2012, Year-end Report,” CBP Publication 0173-0113, February 11, 2013: (Figures 4 and 5; p. 13 “Goal 2” data)
Lydia DePillis, “America’s strange trade policy makes your jeans more expensive than they should be,” The Washington Post, October 9, 2013;
Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger, “Sugar protections prove easy to swallow for lawmakers across political spectrum,” The Washington Post, December 7, 2013:
Modern U.S. Trade Politics & Policy: Reciprocal Trade Negotiations, Mercantilism and Public Opinion
Brink Lindsey, “Free Trade from the Bottom Up,” The Cato Journal:
United States Department of Commerce, Office of Public Affairs, Newsroom, “Fact Sheet: National Export Initiative,” May 24, 2013;
Daniel J. Ikenson and Scott Lincicome, “Beyond Exports: A Better Case for Free Trade,” Cato Institute Free Trade Bulletin No. 43, January 31, 2011:
Jeffrey Jones, “Americans Shift to More Positive View of Foreign Trade,” Gallup, February 28, 2013;
Modern US Trade Politics & Policy: “Unfair Trade” and Trade Adjustment Assistance
“An Introduction to Trade Remedies in the Multilateral Trade System,” Trade Wins, June, 2010: (pp. 1-13)
Brink Lindsey, “Anti-Dumping Law Is Discriminatory,” American Metal Market, November 12, 1999:
Scott Lincicome, “PC4D: When 325 Wins and a .613 Batting Average Just Ain't Good Enough,” Blog, March 4, 2010,
Sallie James, “Maladjusted: The Misguided Policy of ‘Trade Adjustment Assistance,’” Cato Institute Trade Briefing Paper No. 26, November 8, 2007:
David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., “Trade Adjustment Assistance: Another Evaluation Finds the Program to Be Ineffective and Costly,” The Heritage Foundation, July 29, 2013:
Richard A. Epstein, “The ‘Fair’ Trade Delusion” Defining Ideas, A Hoover Institution Journal, May 25, 2011:
Scott Lincicome, ‘The Circle of (Government) Life,” September 17, 2011:
Spring Break
Today’s Trade Reality: Statistics, Specialization, Outsourcing, Global supply Chains and American Manufacturing
I, Smartphone:
Daniel J. Ikenson, “Made on Earth: How Global Economic Integration Renders Trade Policy Obsolete,” Cato Institute Trade Policy Analysis No. 42, December 2, 2009:
Daniel J. Ikenson, “Trade Deficit Oped In The New York Times Is Heavy On Fallacy And Wrong On Economics Trade,” Forbes, November 8, 2013 :
Scott Lincicome, “Politicians' Misguided Reliance on Conventional Trade Statistics, part 47,” December 16, 2010:
A. Gary Shilling, “Let’s Not Overstate the U.S. Manufacturing Revival,” Bloomberg, November 6, 2013:; and “U.S. Manufacturing Only Has Jobs for the Skilled Few,” Bloomberg, November 7, 2013:
Dan Seifert, “Made in America: a look inside Motorola's Moto X factory,” The Verge, September 11, 2013:
Brian Wingfield and Romy Varghese, “Apple Supplier Foxconn to Invest Millions in Pennsylvania,” Bloomberg, November 22, 2013:
Dinny McMahon, “Why One Chinese Textile Maker Sees His Future in the U.S.,” Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2013:
Subsidies and Other Non-tariff Barriers to Trade
Scott Lincicome, “Countervailing Calamity: How to Stop the Global Subsidies Race,” Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 710, October 9, 2012: 1-14, 27.
Gregory Meyer and Stephanie Kirchgaessner, “Commodities, A sweet deal,” The Financial Times, November 14, 2013:
K. William Watson and Sallie James, “Regulatory Protectionism: A Hidden Threat to Free Trade,” Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 723, April 9, 2013:
House Committee on Financial Services, ‘The Unintended Consequences of Dodd-Frank’s Conflict Minerals Provision,” May 16, 2013:
Jason Busch, Conflict Minerals: Starring Dodd-Frank as the Grinch WhoStole Christmas, Spend Matters, December 11, 2013:
Trade, Development and the “Race to the Bottom”
Matt Zwolinski, “Top 3 Ways Sweatshops Help The Poor Escape Poverty,” June 7, 2012:
Jagdish Bhagwati, “Globalization with a Human Face,” presented at The Future of Globalization: Explorations in Light of Recent Turbulence, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and The World Bank, October 2003:
Victoria L. Henderson, “Anti-Sweatshop Activists and the Crony Capitalists Who Love Them,” PanAm Post, December 19, 2013:
Vivian C. Jones, “Generalized System of Preferences: Background and Renewal Debate,” Congressional Research Service, July 24, 2013: (pp. 6-19)
Prashant Bharadwaj, Leah K. Lakdawala, Nicholas Li, “Perverse Consequences of Well Intentioned Regulation: Evidence from India's Child Labor Ban,” National Bureau of Economic Research: (pp. 1-6, 33-34)
“Congress OKs American Samoa minimum wage freeze,” Associated Press, July 19, 2013:
Diane McCarthy and Ayesha Durgahee, “Good African Coffee wants trade, not aid,” CNN, June 19, 2013:
Tim Worstall, “Trade, not aid, is what improves life in the third world,” The Telegraph, May 22, 2012:
Bob Davis, “Trade Not Aid’ Not Enough for Africa,” The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2010;
“Fair Trade" and the Morality of Free Trade
Colleen E. Haight, “Combating Global Poverty with a Cup of Coffee,” July 12, 2013
Sarah Stanley, “Is Fair Trade Coffee Curing Poverty?,” Acton Institute, July 8, 2013;
Colleen Haight, “The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2011:
Mike Munger, “Fair Trade Revealed As Feel-Good Hoax,” Blog, May 15, 2011:
Simon Clark and Heather Walsh, “Fair Trade Proving Anything But in Growing $6 Billion Market,” Bloomberg, December 23. 2011:
Scott Lincicome, “An Outsourcing and Protectionism Thought Experiment,” July 15, 2012:
Charles Kenny, “Give Sam Walton the Nobel Prize,” Foreign Policy, May/June 2013:,0
Paper Presentations

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