International Trade and Institutions


by  Alireza Naghavi

Course description
The course takes a variety of applied topics which link trade and institutions to trigger research ideas and create potential topics for the PhD thesis. The course introduces seminal work and recent advancements in trade and the international organization of firms (offshoring, outsourcing, multinational production). On the institutions side the focus of the course is on contract enforcement and the protection of intellectual property rights. The interrelationship between trade and institutions and their impact on innovation and development is discussed by introducing further related literature.


  • -International Organization of Production (Antràs)
  • -Trade and Institutions (Levchenko)
  • -Intellectual Property Rights Protection (Ponzetto)
  • -Trade and Innovation (Rodríges-Clare)

Participation to the course requires a basic background in microeconomics.

Teaching methods
Presentation and discussion of selected core papers for each topic followed by overview of related follow-up literature. All students are expected to carefully read all required papers. By the end of the course, students should be able to confront a variety of applied topics to derive arguments for their PhD research.

Assessment methods
 in-class participation (20%), class presentation (40%), final written exam (40%).

All materials will be published on the course website www2.dse.unibo.it/naghavi/phd  


Acemoglu, D. and Akcigit, U. (2012) Intellectual property rights policy, competition and innovation. Journal of the European Economic Association 10: 1-42.

Acemoglu, D., Antràs, P., and Helpman, E. (2007) Contracts and technology adoption. American Economic Review 97 (3): 916-943.

Antràs, P. (2014) Grossman-Hart (1986) goes global: incomplete contracts, property rights, and the international organization of production. The journal of Law, Economics, and Organziation 30 (S1): i118-i175.

Antràs, P. and Helpman, E. (2008) Contractual frictions and global sourcing. in E. Helpman, D. Marin, and T. Verdier, eds., The Organization of Firms in a Global Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Arkolakis, C., Ramondo, N., Rodriguez-Clare, A. and Yeaple, S. (2013) Innovation and production in the global economy, NBER Working Paper No. 18792.

Bernard, A.B., Jensen, J.B., Redding, S., and Schott, P.K. (2010) Intra-firm trade and product contractibility. American Economic Review 100: 444-448.

Borota, T. (2012) Innovation and Imitation in a model of North-South Trade. Journal of International Economics 87: 365-376.

Canals, C. and Sener, F. (2014) Offshoring and intellectual property rights reform. Journal of Development Economics 108: 17-31.

Chen, Y. and Puttitanun, T. (2005) Intellectual property rights and innovation in developing countries. Journal of Development Economics 78: 474-493.

Chu, A.C., Cozzi, G. and Galli S. (2014) Stage-dependent intellectual property rights. Journal of Development Economics 106: 239-249.

Corcos, G., Irac, D.M., Mion, G., and Verdier, T. (2013) The determinants of intra-firm trade: Evidence from French firms. Review of Economics and Statistics 95 (3): 825-838.

Dal Bó, E. and Dal Bó, P. (2011) Workers, warriors, and criminals: social conflict in general equilibrium. Journal of the European Economic Association 9: 646-677.

Defever, F. and Toubal, F. (2013) Productivity, relationship-specific inputs and the sourcing modes of multinationals. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 94: 345-357.

Ivus, O. (2011) Trade-related intellectual property rights: industry variation and technology diffusion. Canadian Journal of Economics 44: 201-226.

Lai, E. L.-C. and Qiu, L.D. (2003) The North’s intellectual property rights standards for the South? Journal of International Economics 59: 180-209.

Levchenko, A.A. (2007) Institutional quality and international trade. Review of Economic Studies 74: 791-819.

Naghavi A. and Ottaviano, G.I.P. (2009) Offshoring and production innovation. Economic Theory 38: 517-532.

Naghavi A. and Ottaviano, G.I.P. (2009) Firm heterogeneity, contract enforcement, and the industry dynamics of offshoring. Scandinavian Journal of Economics 111, 629-653, 2009.

Naghavi A., Spies, J. and Toubal, F. (2015) Intellectual property rights, product complexity, and the organization of multinational firms. Canadian Journal of Economics, forthcoming.

Naghavi, A. and Strozzi, C. (2015) Intellectual property Rights, diasporas, and domestic Innovation, Journal of International Economics, forthcoming.

Nunn, N. (2007) Relation-specificity, incomplete contracts, and the patterns of trade. Quarterly Journal of Economics 122: 569-600.

Nunn, N. and Trefler, D. (2008) The boundaries of multinational firm: An empirical analysis. in E. Helpman, D. Marin, and T. Verdier, eds., The Organization of Firms in a Global Economy: 9-54. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Nunn, N. and Trefler, D. (2013) Incomplete contracts and the boundaries of the multinational firm. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 94: 330-344.

Ponzetto, G. (2012) Intellectual property rights and the efficient organization of firms. CEPR Discussion Paper No. 9212.

Rodriguez-Clare, A. (2010) Offshoring in a Ricardian world. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 2: 227-258.

Saint-Paul, G. (2003) Growth effects of nonproprietary innovation. Journal of the European Economic Association 1: 429-439.

Schneider, P.H. (2005) International trade, economic growth and intellectual property rights: A panel data study of developed and developing countries. Journal of Development Economics 78: 529-547.

Stefanadis, C. (2010) Appropriation, property rights institutions, and international trade. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2: 148-172.

Watt, S. (2007) Firm heterogeneity and weak intellectual property rights. IMF Working Paper No. 07/161.