NIFK13002U Topics in Advanced International Economics

Volume 2014/2015
MSc Programme in Agricultural Economics
MSc Programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics


We study some of the literature on the frontier of economic research on selected advanced topics in international economics. The specific topics to be discussed in class will be determined at the beginning of the course, possibly based on the interests of the students. Examples may include


  • Heterogeneous firms trade theory: expanding the body of trade theory based on Heckscher-Ohlin and New Trade Theory to include models analysing trade at the individual firm level
  • Oligopoly trade theory: considering cases where firms are large and imperfectly competitive, implying strategic interaction among firms
  • The political economy of trade policy
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Trade and developing countries
  • Trade and the environment

Additional topics are investigated by the students themselves during their project work.

An important objective of the course is to train the students in techniques for carrying out independent study of scientific journal articles. Studying journal articles is very different from reading textbooks. Articles are not specifically written for teaching purposes, and authors often sacrifice careful explanation for brevity and precision. Articles can therefore be very challenging and time consuming to study. We discuss how to overcome these challenges and how to get the most out of the articles (in terms of the elements detailed under the Learning Outcomes).

Learning Outcome

Upon completing this course, the students should be able to


  • summarise the main contributions of the articles discussed in class




  • study scientific journal articles with theoretical, empirical and/or applied content in international economics, and
  • - identify the central contributions of the article
  • - explain the main results in terms of assumptions, methodology, and economic intuition
  • - relate the article to other relevant research within the area
  • - identify potential questions for further analysis as well as possible strategies for addressing those questions




  • formulate a structured and coherent paper in English on a topic in international economics
  • make a short and structured presentation of scholarly work (own contributions as well as published work)
  • engage in group discussions in English
  • critically and constructively reflect on the work of other scholars (fellow students as well as published work)


Selected scientific journal articles

LOJK10240 or similar. Students should have a reasonable understanding of mathematics, and statistical analysis. To benefit from this course the student needs an understanding of micro, public, and international economics corresponding to bachelor degree in agricultural economics.
The course is split into two parts. In the first part (roughly half the course), we will study a collection of scientific journal articles on the selected topics in a number of lectures. Students are required to submit a short (½ page) reflection note on the articles studied before each lecture. In the second part (roughly the second half of the course), there are no lectures and the time will be spent by the students preparing a literature survey paper leading to a proposal for a research question, which could potentially form the basis for the students’ future Master’s thesis.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 6
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 76
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination
The exam takes the form of a student seminar. At the seminar, each student will present his/her survey paper, perform as a discussant on a fellow student's survey paper and engage in the general discussion. By implication, all students are required to participate in the whole seminar and attend all presentations. If many students are registered for the exam, the seminar may be split into smaller sessions, and students are required to participate in their own session only.

The grade is given as an overall assessment of the following four elements:

The survey paper 50%
The student's presentation at the seminar 20%
The student's role as a discussant at the seminar 20%
Active participation in the general discussion at the seminar 10%
Exam registration requirements
The students shall submit a short (½ page) reflection note before each lecture. The note may summarise thoughts, ideas, questions, difficulties, etc. the students encountered while studying the articles. No more than 2 omitted or late submitted notes are allowed.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners
If there are fewer than four students registered for the re-examination, the student seminar is replaced by an individual oral defence of a survey paper.
Criteria for exam assesment

The assessment is based on the criteria given by the Learning Outcomes