GV313      Half Unit
Politics of Trade in Comparative Perspective

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Stephanie Rickard


This course is available on the BSc in History and Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Data Science, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is not available to General Course students.

This course is capped at two groups.


A background in international economics would be advantageous.

Course content

The course focuses on the role of institutions and interests in the process and formulation of trade policy. We examine the causal influences of institutions 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 policy outcomes.


This course provides a minimum of 30 hours of lectures and seminars in the Lent Term. There will be a reading week in LT 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.

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.


Essay (100%, 4000 words).

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2021/22: 17

Average class size 2021/22: 9

Capped 2021/22: Yes (30)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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