GV313      Half Unit
Politics of Trade in Comparative Perspective

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephanie Rickard


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


This course is capped at two groups. The deadline for enrolments is 12:00 noon, Friday 29 September, 2017.


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.

There will be a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Weekly writing assignments.

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).

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 32.1
2:1 43.4
2:2 24.5
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 21

Average class size 2016/17: 11

Capped 2016/17: Yes (30)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

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