UCL Department of Economics


Topics in International Economics

PhD Skills Development Module, Term 2


This module offers an overview of several active areas of research in international trade. It introduces frontier topics, insights, and tools, with the goal of preparing PhD students to conduct independent cutting-edge research in the field, as well as in adjacent fields where ideas and techniques from international trade may be useful, such as urban and spatial economics, labor, development, IO, finance, and macro. 

The module will consist of 10 two-hour lectures. The preliminary set of topics includes:

  • Trade, FDI and financial frictions (Kalina Manova)
  • Global value chains and production networks (Kalina Manova)
  • Trade and labor markets (Gabriel Ulyssea)
  • Trade within countries and development (Gabriel Ulyssea)
  • Cities and development (Gabriel Ulyssea)
  • Spatial and general equilibrium spillovers (Kirill Borusyak)
  • The effects of trade on welfare and inequality (Kirill Borusyak)

Students from University of London universities other than UCL are welcome to register.


Lectures: TBA
Office hours: TBA


We strongly recommend that students take or audit EC532 “International Economics for Research Students” during Term 1 at the LSE. This module covers baseline models in international trade that provide useful foundations for the topics course at UCL. UCL students can easily register for EC532, and Daniella Harper can assist with the logistics.


No formal assessment is required for this skills development PhD module. In order to fully benefit from the module, students are strongly encouraged to complete all assigned reading and participate actively in class. Interested students are welcome to develop a 5-page project proposal that they could pursue as part of their dissertation and receive constructive feedback from the lecturers.

Reading List

Trade, FDI and financial frictions (Kalina Manova, 3 hours)
  • Foley, F. and K. Manova (2015). “International Trade, Multinational Activity, and Corporate Finance.” Annual Review of Economics 7: 119-46.
  • Manova, K. (2013). “Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms and International Trade.” Review of Economic Studies 80: 711-44.
  • Antràs, P., Desai, M. and F. Foley (2009). “Multinational Firms, FDI Flows and Imperfect Capital Markets.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 124: 1171-219.
  • Manova, K., Wei, S.-J. and Z. Zhang (2015). “Firm Exports and Multinational Activity under Credit Constraints.” Review of Economics and Statistics 97, p.574-88.
  • Bilir, K., Chor, D., and K. Manova (2019). “Host Country Financial Development and Multinational Activity.” European Economic Review 115: 192-220.
  • Berthou, A., Chung, J.H., Manova, K. and C. Sandoz (2018). “Trade, Productivity and (Mis)allocation." CEPR Working Paper.
Global value chains and production networks (Kalina Manova, 3 hours)
  • Antràs, P. and D. Chor (2021). “Global Value Chains.” NBER Working Paper 28549.
  • Bernard, A. and A. Moxnes (2018). “Networks and Trade.” Annual Review of Economics 10: 65-85.
  • Bernard, A., Dhyne, E., Magerman, G., Manova, K. and A. Moxnes (2020). “The Origins of Firm Heterogeneity: A Production Network Approach." Journal of Political Economy (forthcoming).
  • Huang, H., Manova, K. and F. Pisch (2021). “Firm Heterogeneity and Imperfect Competition in Global Production Networks.” Mimeo.
Trade and Labor Markets (Gabriel Ulyssea, 4 hours)
  • Autor, D. H., Dorn, D. and Hanson, G. H. (2013). “The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Impacts of Import Competition in the United States.” American Economic Review 103(6), 2121-2168.
  • Autor, D., Dorn, D. and Hanson, G. (2016) “The China Shock: Learning about Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade.” Annual Review of Economics 8, 205-240.    
  • Dix-Carneiro, Rafael, and Brian K. Kovak (2017). "Trade Liberalization and Regional Dynamics." American Economic Review 107: 2908-46.
  • Ponczek, Vladimir, and Gabriel Ulyssea (2021). "Enforcement of Labor Regulation and the Labor Market Effects of Trade: Evidence from Brazil." Conditionally accepted at Economic Journal.
  • Dix-Carneiro, Rafael, Pinelopi K. Goldberg, Costas Meghir, and Gabriel Ulyssea (2021). “Trade and Informality in the Presence of Labor Market Frictions and Regulations.” NBER Working Paper 28391.
Trade within countries and development (Gabriel Ulyssea, 2 hours)
  • Donaldson, Dave (2018). "Railroads of the Raj: Estimating the Impact of Transportation Infrastructure." American Economic Review 108: 899-934.
  • Atkin, David, and Dave Donaldson (2015). “Who's Getting Globalized? The Size and Implications of Intra-national Trade Costs.” NBER Working Paper 21439.
  • Donaldson, D. and Hornbeck, R. (2016). “Railroads and American Economic Growth: A “Market Access” Approach.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 131(2), 799–858. 
Cities and development (Gabriel Ulyssea, 2 hours)
  • Ahlfeldt GM, Redding SJ, Sturm DM, Wolf N. (2015). “The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall.” Econometrica 83: 2127-89.
  • Gharad Bryan, Edward Glaeser, Nick Tsivanidis (2020). “Cities in the Developing World.” Annual Review of Economics 12: 273-297.
  • Tsivanidis, Nick (2019). "Evaluating the Impact of Urban Transit Infrastructure: Evidence from Bogota’s Transmilenio." Mimeo.
Spatial and general equilibrium spillovers (Kirill Borusyak, 3 hours)
  • Adão, R., Arkolakis, C. and Esposito, F. (2020). “General Equilibrium Indirect Effects in Space: Theory and Measurement.” Mimeo.
  • Adão, R., Kolesár, M. and Morales, E. (2019). “Shift-Share Designs: Theory and Inference.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 134(4), 1949–2010.
  • Borusyak, K., and Hull, P. (2021). “Non-Random Exposure to Exogenous Shocks: Theory and Applications.” Mimeo.
  • Borusyak, K., Hull, P. and Jaravel, X. (2020). “Quasi-Experimental Shift-Share Research Designs.” Review of Economic Studies (forthcoming).
Effects of trade on welfare and inequality (Kirill Borusyak, 3 hours)
  • Adão, R., Carrillo, P., Costinot, A., Donaldson, D. and Pomeranz, D. (2020). “Exports, Imports, and Earnings Inequality: Micro-Data and Macro-Lessons from Ecuador.” Mimeo.
  • Adão, R., Costinot, A. and Donaldson, D. (2017). “Nonparametric Counterfactual Predictions in Neoclassical Models of International Trade.” American Economic Review 107: 633–689. 
  • Arkolakis, C., Costinot, A. and Rodríguez-Clare, A. (2012). “New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?” American Economic Review 102: 94-130. 
  • Baqaee, D. R. and Farhi, E. (2021). “Networks, Barriers, and Trade.” Mimeo.
  • Borusyak, K. and Jaravel, X. (2021). “The Distributional Effects of Trade: Theory and Evidence from the United States.” Mimeo.