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Marginal Revolution University

International Trade

via Marginal Revolution University


What you will learn

This free video course takes a look at the basic theories of international trade and the consequences of trade in today's global economy. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about fundamental ideas such as comparative advantage, increasing returns to scale, factor endowments, and arbitrage across borders. The consequences we discuss include the effects of offshoring, how trade has shaped the economies of China, Mexico, and Korea, when foreign direct investment is desirable, and the history of free trade and tariffs, among other topics. Trade is a topic of increasing importance and this material will give you a better grasp on the theories and empirics as they have been developed by economists.

This course is non-technical and is accessible to a beginner.


1. Introduction to International Trade

Comparative Advantage

Comparative advantage 2: Homework

Sources of Comparative Advantage

Evidence on Comparative Advantage from Japan

Trade and Variety

The Gravity Equation and Cost of Trade

Trade, Investment and Migration as Substitutes

2. International Trade and Trade Restrictions Part 1

Trade and Tariff History

The shipping container

The Corn Law debates

John Stuart Mill, terms of trade

Effective Rate of Protection

Optimal Tariffs

Tariffs and Growth in 19th Century

3. International Trade and Trade Restrictions Part 2

The Political Economy of Tariffs

International Trade and Welfare Costs of Tariffs

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Malawi restricts trade in corn

Tariffs vs. Quotas

World Trade Organization

The Green Revolution

4. International Trade and the Firm Part 1

Basics of Multinational Corporations

Gains from Multinationals

Firm myths

Productivity in Firms

Trade and External Economies of Scale

Monopolistic Competition and International Trade

Trade and Increasing Returns: Evidence

International Trade Disciplines Monopolies

Intra-firm Trade

5. International Trade and the Firm Part 2

Intra-Industry Trade

Unbundling the Supply Chain

Robert Torrens and sliding tariffs

Robert Torrens on strategic trade policy

South Korea and Industrial Policy

Friedrich List

Paul Romer

The deindustrialization of India

6. International Trade and the Factors of Production

Specific Factors Models

Factor Price Equalization

The Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem

Evidence on the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem

The Rybczynski Theorem

Virtual Water

Why Did Trade Plummet in the Great Recession?

What is at Stake in Trade Theories?

Economics of Offshoring

7. Consequences of International Trade Part 1

Introduction to NAFTA

NAFTA and Mexican Agriculture

Effects of NAFTA on the Mexican Economy


Does Fair Trade Help?

Who Supports Free Trade?

Does Trade Help the Environment?

8. Consequences of International Trade Part 2

Who gains from FDI?

The Economics of Bollywood

India Retail Competition

Trade and Poverty in India

Development and Trade: Empirical Evidence

The cultural diversity critique of markets

Market reforms in Bangladesh

Taught by

Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen


3.7 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

Start your review of International Trade

  • Anonymous
    International trade brings a number of valuable benefits to a country, including: ... Trade increases competition and lowers world prices, which provides benefits to consumers by raising the purchasing power of their own income, and leads a rise in consumer surplus.
  • Profile image for Michael Ayodele Akinsuyi
    Michael Ayodele Akinsuyi
    It was an interesting course. Well explained with real life and pragmatic examples. A job well done by the lecturers .
  • Thinzar Hlaing

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