GV313      Half Unit
Politics of Trade in Comparative Perspective

This information is for the 2014/15 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephanie Rickard CON6.11


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

A minimum attendance of 80% of the course is required. This course is capped at two groups. The deadline for receipt of applications from General Course Students is Friday 10 October 2014.


A background in political economy would be advantageous.

Course content

The course focuses on the role of institutions, ideas and interests in the process and formulation of trade policy. We examine the causal influences of institutions, ideas and interests in trade, focusing predominantly on developed countries. We draw on theories from economics and political science and analyze these using both historical and contemporary examples, and do so from a comparative perspective, rather than an international relations perspective.

The primary focus of the course is on actual policy outcomes.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

Indicative reading

Frieden, Lake and Schultz (2010) World Politics. 216-233.

Hiscox, Michael. (2002) “Commerce, Coalitions, and Factor Mobility: Evidence from Congressional Votes on Trade Legislation.” American Political Science Review 96(3): 593-608.

Milner, Helen V. and Keiko Kubota. (2005) “Why the Move to Free Trade? Democracy and Trade Policy in the Developing Countries.” International Organization 59 (Winter): 107-144.

Rickard, Stephanie J. (2010) “Democratic Differences: Electoral Institutions and Compliance with GATT/WTO Agreements.” European Journal of International Relations 16(4): 711-729.

Nielson, Daniel L. (2003). Supplying Trade Reform: Political Institutions and Liberalization in Middle-Income Presidential Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 47:3 470-491.

C. Schonhardt-Bailey, From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas and Institutions in Historical Perspective (MIT Press, 2006).

Zahrnt, Valentin. (2008). Domestic constituents and the formulation of WTO negotiating positions: what the delegates say. World Trade Review 7 (2): 393-421.

Wei and Zhang (2010) Do external interventions work? The case of trade reform conditions in IMF supported programs Journal of Development Economics Volume 92, Issue 1, May 2010, Pages 71–81.

Frieden, Jeffry, Ronald Rogowski. (1996) “The Impact of the International Economy on National Policies: An Analytical Overview.” In Internationalization and Domestic Politics. Edited by Robert Keohane and Helen Milner, p. 25-47.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2013/14: Unavailable

Average class size 2013/14: Unavailable

Capped 2013/14: No

Lecture capture used 2013/14: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills