Create exercises for academic learning or use contextual information and graphics for your research and create empirical stories around key questions of trade.
As well as using standard textbooks and providing references to the academic research on trade issues, it is illuminating for students to look at actual data which helps them to think through key concepts.
Comparative advantage: Here we ask students to compute and compare the revealed comparative advantages in the top exports of different countries and over time – and then, for example, ask them to explain what can be driving these differences and changes.
Changing patterns of trade: Students are asked to look at the changing shares of trade of key sectors for certain economies such as China, and to consider what might be driving those changes. This leads to a range of possible explanations: changes in trade policy, changes in endowments, changes in competitiveness (possibly driven by changes in technology), or changes in tastes / demand.
Distribution of the gains from trade: Again students are asked to compute and consider changes in the structure of trade for certain countries, and the to consider what the impact might be on factor rewards
Trade and imperfect competition: a natural indicator to consider here is the indicator of intra-industry trade and its evolution over time either by country or industry. IIT can also be used to discuss the vertical fragmentation of the supply chain.
Trade Policy: Here students are asked to look at differences in tariffs across countries, and changes over time and to consider the impact of those changes on welfare. This naturally leads into a discussion of small country v large country effects. You can also look at differential tariffs at different levels of processing to consider the issue of the effective rate of protection
Regional Integration: key concepts here are trade creation and trade diversion. Theory suggests that trade creation will be more likely when countries already trade a lot with each other prior to the agreement. So students are asked to look at and graph intra-regional trade shares both before and after agreements and to provide an interpretation. There is also a direct link between trade creation and export similarity which is captured by the Finger-Kreinin index of trade similarity.
As well as the software itself, we have developed a set of sample exercises available to instructors which is made available with the site licence for the course. A sample exercise is available on request.