GY209      Half Unit
The Economic Geography of Trade, Production and Development

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Davide Rigo


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economics, BSc in Environment and Development and BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Economics A (EC100) or Economics B (EC102). ST107 (or equivalent course in statistics) strongly recommended.

Course content

This course is concerned with economic geography. In particular we use ideas from International Trade, International Economics, Development and Regional Economics to talk about the location of economic activity across space and the consequences of uneven location. This module is concerned with two fundamental questions: i) what determines the distribution of production and trade across countries and regions? ii) which are the implications for economic development and inequalities? To answer to these questions, this module provides students with an introduction of international trade theories, their mechanisms and implications for trade patterns. In parallel, this module provides students with a review of the main empirical studies testing for those theories and documenting the implications of trade liberalisation for economic development and income inequalities. Armed with these theories and empirical facts, the module critically evaluates current trade policy disputes.

The main topics covered during the module will be:

1. Introduction to trade

2. The Ricardian model of comparative advantage

3. Heckscher-Ohlin and factor endowments

4. Trade, globalisation and inequality

5. Krugman’s New Trade Theories

6. Spatial Distribution of Trade and Production

7. Trade Policy

8. Gravity models

9. Heterogeneous firms and trade


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures across Michaelmas Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to prepare for group discussion of the main readings and hand in a short essay for formative assessment.

Indicative reading

  • Pugel T.A. International Economics. McGraw-Hill.
  • Baldwin R and Martin P., (1999), Two waves of globalization: superficial similarities, fundamental differences, NBER working paper 6904.
  • Antràs, P. (2020), Conceptual aspects of global value chains. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 9114.
  • Autor D. Dorn D. and Hanson G. (2013), The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the US. American Economic Review, 103(6), 2121-2168.
  • Feenstra C. and Hanson G. (1999), The Impact of Outsourcing and High-Technology Capital on Wages: Estimates for the United States, 1979-1990. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114, 907-940.
  • Krugman, Paul (1979), Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade. Journal of International Economics, Vol. 9(4), pp. 469-479.
  • Krueger, A. O. (1997), Trade Policy and Economic Development: How we learn. The American Economic Review, 87(1).
  • James Feyrer, (2009), Distance, Trade, and Income – The 1967 to 1975 Closing of the Suez Canal as a Natural Experiment. NBER Working Papers 15557.
  • Bernard A., J.B. Jensen, S.J. Redding, and P.K. Schott (2007), “Firms in International Trade”. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 21, Number 3, pp. 105-130.
  • Bustos, P. (2011), Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms. The American Economic Review, 101(1), 304-340


Coursework (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2019/20: 55

Average class size 2019/20: 19

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills