International Economics

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Economics
  • Application code SS-EC351
  • Starting 2019
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

This course provides an analysis of the economic relationships between countries, covering both trade and monetary issues.

The first half of the course deals with international trade theory and policy. It focuses on a number of classic questions such as: Why do countries trade with each other? What are the effects of trade on welfare and the income distribution? What are the effects of various barriers to trade and economic integration? We will also look at recent work on the role of firm heterogeneity in international trade and the links between globalisation and inequality.

The second half of the course considers international macroeconomic issues. This part of the course starts by laying out the balance of payments accounts and open economy income identities. The course then focuses on some of the key questions in open economy macroeconomics and relates them to current events and policy issues.  For example it discusses the issues of global imbalances and provides a framework for understanding why countries run large current account surpluses or deficits; it discusses the determination of nominal exchange rates and what it means for a currency to be over or undervalued; it reviews episodes of currency and financial crisis (such as the Asian Crises in the late 1990s and the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992) and provides a framework for interpreting such events along with an analysis of the alternative policy options; it focuses also on critical aspects of the current policy environment such as the issue of a liquidity trap and the implication of high debt and deleveraging.

The material covered is not mathematically complex, but it is taught in a formal and rigorous manner, which assumes a good familiarity with basic economic concepts. The level of teaching is similar to that of the upper-undergraduate level International Economics course taught at the LSE during the regular School year.

Session: One
Dates: 17 June - 5 July 2019
Lecturers: Dr Gianluca Benigno and Dr Thomas Sampson


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 300 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: Two written examinations

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics, knowledge of single variable calculus.

Programme structure

The course is split into two parts:

International macroeconomic issues

  • How are nominal exchange rates determined?
  • What does it mean for a currency to be overvalued or undervalued?
  • Why do countries run large current account surpluses or deficits? Are such external imbalances sustainable?
  • Why do some fixed exchange rate regimes fail and end in a currency crisis?
  • What are the benefits and costs of a common currency? 

International trade theory and policy

  • Who trades what with whom? 
  • What are the effects of trade on welfare and the income distribution? 
  • What are the effects of barriers to trade and economic integration? 

We look both at the answers of classical and new trade theory to these questions. The first part ends with an overview of recent theoretical and empirical research on the role of heterogeneous firms in international trade.

Course outcomes

This course provides an analysis of the economic relationships between countries, covering both trade and monetary issues.


The LSE Department of Economics is one of the biggest and best in the world, with expertise across the full spectrum of mainstream economics. A long-standing commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of developments in the field has ensured the lasting impact of its work on the discipline as a whole. Almost every major intellectual development within Economics over the past fifty years has had input from members of the department, which counts ten Nobel Prize winners among its current and former staff and students. Alumni are employed in a wide range of national and international organisations, in government, international institutions, business and finance.

The Department of Economics is a leading research department, consistently ranked in the top 20 economics departments worldwide. This is reflected in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise which recognised the Department's outstanding contribution to the field. According to the REF 2014 results, 56 per cent of the Department’s research output was graded 4 star (the highest category), indicating that it is 'world-leading'. A further 33 per cent was designated 'internationally excellent' (3 star).

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s economics faculty.

Reading materials

P. R. Krugman, M. Obsfeld and M. Melitz, International Economics, (10th edition), Pearson Education (2015).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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