This course offers an introduction to the public policy issues associated with international trade, with particular reference to the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This course is open to all MPA students; other graduate students should contact the instructor. The syllabus and all materials are available to registered students in Moodle.
Commercial exchanges across borders affect most domains of daily life and public policy in the era of globalization. Trade affects our lives at home, and our relations with people far away. Policy issues addressed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be the focus of this course. The WTO is lauded as essential for global stability and increased prosperity for the world's poor, and it is reviled for being unjust to developing countries and limiting national policy autonomy.
The domain of "trade policy" is any government policy that can have the effect, whether or not intended, of altering the flow of goods, services and investment across national borders. Such policies can be seen as essential elements of national economic development strategies, and they can result from or they can unsettle political bargains within and between states.
Understanding the WTO as an international organization and as a set of mutual commitments among states requires consideration of international relations, of domestic politics, of international political economy, and of institutional design, as well as of trade policy.
The course is designed to be accessible for students who have no background in trade policy or of multilateral institutions, while still being challenging for students who have already studied some aspect of this domain.
The course objective is to provide an introduction to trade policy and institutions through a detailed examination of one issue on the multilateral trade agenda. Through close study of the issue s/he chooses, students will become familiar with the analytic concepts and empirical resources necessary for an understanding of trade and public policy.