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NBS8256 : International Trade

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Brian Varian
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module focuses on theories of international trade. It covers the Ricardian and Heckscher-Ohlin models in detail, and also examines more recent trade theories such as imperfect competition and returns to scale. Attention will also be devoted to trade policy.

The objective of the module is to familiarize students with the tools and basic concepts required to understand the forces that shape international trade and help determine trade policies. At the end of the module, the students should be able to make sense of discussions of international trade in the business press and to express their own opinion. A final objective of the module is to further the students' understanding of the role of economic modelling. In particular, trade theory is a good illustration of how different models can (and must) be used to analyze a given economic issue.

The module offers a variety of academic skills and promotes external awareness. With regard to academic skills, the module encourages analytical reasoning, critical evaluation, and the ability to use and interpret mathematical relations. By doing so, it provides students with the economic background to debate issues related to world trade.

Outline Of Syllabus

The theory of international trade
The Ricardian model
The Hecksher-Ohlin model
The specific factors model
Imperfect competition and increasing returns to scale
International trade policy: tariffs and non-tariff barriers
The political economy of trade
Free trade agreements and preferential trade agreements
Gravity model of trade

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture131:0013:00PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading133:0033:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00PiP seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study118:0018:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an in-depth introduction to the core course material, and introduction to required techniques. Seminars are used to take students through applications and extensions to lecture material and study cases. Private study facilitates review and understanding of lecture material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A100N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam includes various questions used to assesses the breadth of students' understanding of classical and newer trade models, including their assumptions and predictions. It also tests students' understanding of trade policy and its formulation. Other areas of international trade are assessed too. A mix of multiple-choice questions, computational questions, and short essay questions coalesce in the exam, which measures students' understanding of both the theoretical and applied aspects of international trade.

Reading Lists