This course deals with the economics of international trade policy, most obviously tariffs on imports but also a variety of non-tariff barriers and other policies that impact international trade. The topic has increased in importance under President Trump, and we will devote a lot of attention to the policies he has implemented and the responses to those policies by other countries. We will also examine the details of how trade policies are decided and implemented in the United States, the European Union, and other countries, and we will study the mechanisms that exist internationally to constrain and guide these policies, through the World Trade Organization and through negotiated trade agreements.
About half the course will deal in some depth with the use of economic models to quantify the effects of trade policies, while the other half will deal with institutions, laws, and policies. The structure of the course will be very similar to what it has been in the past, as can be seen from last year’s course website that is publicly available online through my own website. The major topics will likely be the same, but with readings dealing with the more recent events that have occurred during the year leading up to the course. As in the past, students will be expected to write three papers (in assigned groups of 2 or 3), take two exams (a midterm and a final), and participate in class discussion.