IR 213: The Global Economy


IR 213: The Global Economy

Spring 2016

This course provides an introduction to international economics for students of international relations. We address the core puzzle of why poor countries are poor and rich countries are rich, with a focus on international (as opposed to domestic) factors. We cover the economic fundamentals governing the international movement of goods, money, and people, but we also cover the political implications of those flows. We pay attention to the winners and losers created by these flows, and to the policies and institutions that regulate them.

The economic nuts and bolts introduced in this course: comparative advantage, terms of trade, balance of payments, exchange rates, and so forth, are challenging, and the course is demanding. But if you want to save the world, or if you want to get rich, this is the right course to be in.

The syllabus for the course is here (Updated 1/11). Professor Graham's office hours are Fridays from 9-11 AM in VKC 305. Click here to book a meeting between 9 and 10. Drop in hours are 10-11.  

Lecture Slides and Requred Material

Week 1

Lecture 1: Introductory Lecture
Viewing: How Ideas Trump Crisis

Lecture 2: Fundamentals: Supply, Demand, Complements, Substitutes
Viewing: Principles of Economics
Reading: Principles of Economics (supplementary reading)
Reading: Principles of Economics 2 (supplementary reading)
Article: Oil Prices: What’s Behind the Drop? Simple Economics (supplementary reading)

Week 2

Lecture 3: Comparative vs. Absolute Advantage
Viewing: Comparative Advantage and the Tragedy of Tasmania
Viewing: Gains from Trade (optional)
Reading: Carbaugh, Chapter 2, pp. 31-42 (stop before “Distributing the Gains from Trade”); 53-56.  (29-40, 52-55)
Article: Using your comparative advantage (supplementary reading)

Lecture 4: Distributing the Gains From Trade
Reading: Carbaugh, pp. 42-45 (40-44)
Reading: Irwin, Douglas (2009 (3rd Edition)) Ch6 Developing Countries and Open Market in Free Trade under Fire.  Only pp. 178-193 required (rest of chapter assigned later in the course).
Reading:David Dollar, 2005, “Globalization, Poverty, and Inequality Since 1980 (optional)
Reading: Learning the Lessons of Stagnation (optional)
Reading: Wise & Tuynman (2015) NAFTA 20: A Bittersweet Celebration (optional)
Reading: Birdsall, Nancy et al. 2005. “How to Help Poor Countries,” Foreign Affairs. 84(4):136 (optional)

Week 3

Homework 1: Due January 26th, 2016
Lecture 5: Sources of Comparative Advantage: Winners and Losers Within Countries
Reading: Carbaugh, pp. 69-87 (65-82)
Reading: Carbaugh, pp, 87-109 (82-103) (optional)
Reading:  “The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth.” (optional)

Lecture 6: The Law of One Price and Barriers to Trade
Reading: Chapters 4 & 5 (optional)
Viewing: Check out this data visualization (optional)

Week 4

Lecture 7: Domestic Politics of Trade: Concentrated vs. Diffuse interests, lobbying, etc
Reading: Carbaugh, pp. 215-223 (209-215)
Reading: Heritage Foundation Advocacy Piece Against Current U.S. Sugar Policy
Reading: France moves to placate farmers with more aid
Reading: Why are Unions so Focused on Fighting Trade Deals (optional)
Reading: Irwin, Douglas (2009 (3rd Edition)) Ch6 Developing Countries and Open Market in Free Trade under Fire.  Only pp. 200-204 (optional)

Lecture 8: International Politics of Trade: A Little History
Reading: Carbaugh, 187-200 (179-193)
Viewing: A Brief History of International Trade, by Ryan Petersen (optional)

Week 5

Lecture 9: International Politics of Trade: Current Debates
Reading: Carbaugh, pp. 201-215 (193-209)
Viewing: Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt (optional)
Reading: 'Reshoring' Trend Has Little Impact On U.S. Economy, Study Finds (optional)
Reading: Economist (2015)TPP, RIP?  (optional)
Reading: Economist (2015) What’s the big deal? (optional)
Reading: Labor Standards & Trade Agreements Irwin, Chapter 6, pp. 204-218. (First half of the chapter assigned September 2nd) (optional)

Here is the updated midterm study guide.

Lecture: Trade and Development
Homework 2: Due February 11
Reading: Carbaugh, pp. 231-249 (223-240)
Reading: Re-skim the first half of Chapter 6 from Irwin (assigned September 2nd)
Reading: Economist (2014) Good thing, or bad? (optional)
Reading: NPR (2013) Coffee For A Cause: What Do Those Feel-Good Labels Deliver? (optional)
Reading: Freakonomics (2010) Fair Trade and the Food Movement (optional)