ECON 568S: Current Issues in International Trade and Development

Reader requirements: professional trade or development experience in developing economies or with international agencies like the World Bank or Development and Trade; or a PhD in trade or development.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Ed Tower

This course is titled “Special Topics in International Trade and Economic Development.” I think of it as “Neat New Books in International Trade and Economic Development.” In the course we read and comment by blackboard and in class on one book each week. All but Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations are recent. I like to close the course with Adam Smith and ask whether we have learned anything since Smith wrote. In addition to reading and commenting, each student is required to write a book review for publication in a scholarly journal of a book of his or her choice. Last time I taught the course over two thirds of the students did publish their review in a scholarly journal. I strongly encourage students to discuss their book with the author. The vast majority of authors have enthusiastically worked with their student reviewer. If you go to the Duke Journal of Economics web site on the Econ Dept. web site you can find the list of books they reviewed and journals they published in.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Book Reviews.
For whom? Readers interested in Trade and Development.
Where would such writing typically be found? Books on Economics.
Why would someone usually read it? To read a review of interesting new books in the field of International Trade and Development.

See examples of reader bios for this course


Student – Reader Interactions

Students are working on a book review.

Introductory meeting: students share which book they are reviewing and why they chose it. Share your one-page outline of your review.

Feb 10 – First draft: students share draft and get feedback before they send it to the author for feedback

Mar 5 – Near-final draft: students share draft and get feedback before they send the review to a publisher

Link to full Syllabus:

Syllabus for ECON 568 Spring 2015

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s response questions:

  • Does the student communicate the main idea of the book effectively?
  • Does the student introduce legitimate criticisms of the book?
  • Does the student leave the reader with something to remember?
  • Does the reader finish the review feeling he learned something useful?

Quality Reader Feedback Example

ECON 568 sample