International Economics

The Course

International Economics

The international economics course provides a presentation of the international economic theory with an emphasis on current applications, issues and policy questions. The course highlights six themes that are widely discussed by the news media: (1) globalization of economic activity; (2) free trade, fair trade, and “quality of life” issues; (3) trade conflicts between developing nations and industrial nations; (4) liberalizing trade- the WTO versus regional trading arrangements; (5) the dollar as a key currency, and (6) the impact of the economic crisis on the world as a whole. The relevance of theory will be demonstrated in the course through real-world economic issues. The material is covered through verbal presentations assisted by graphical methods and media resources, making it highly accessible to students with little economics background.

The Project: The Impact of Fair Trade on Participating Artisans in Africa

The concept of free trade has been at the forefront of U.S. economic policy for many decades and benefited from support through regional trading agreements such as the North American free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. While this has opened up many trading opportunities all over the world, smaller artisans in developing nations seem to have been left out of the positive aspects/impacts involved in free trade agreements. However, there are “trade operations which strengthen the economic position of small-scale producers and landowners in order to ensure that they are not marginalized in the world economy.” This is what the concept of fair trade applies to. It relates mainly to developing countries and covers mainly the following aspects. First, is making sure that producers receive a share of the total profit proportional to their input, and second, refers to improving social conditions for the artisans.

Since its early days after WWII, fair trade has continued to develop and has become a growing phenomenon in the world involving westernized countries such as the United States partaking in fair trade practices with regional organizations in developing nations to provide these producers with fair prices for the goods they provide. While trading between nations can greatly help all parties involved, on occasion small producer get pushed out of their market by bigger corporations that can afford to offer lower prices. Through organizations such as Ten Thousand Villages, artisans in developing nations are now able to promote and sell their goods on the global market while being paid a fair price for their work.  As fair trade itself and fair trade practices gain more importance in todays’ world, as global citizens, we feel that it is imperative to look into its origins, advantages and disadvantages, and to gain a better understanding of this process and how it can affect our lives and those of others in developing countries.

About Anca Voicu

Anca Voicu studied at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania where she earned her bachelors degree in Economics in 1990 and the University of Birmingham, UK where she earned her PhD degree in Economics in 2000. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at Rollins College, Winter Park, Fl.

Anca Voicu’s teaching has been chiefly in International Economics, European Emerging Markets and Intermediate Macroeconomics. She also taught courses in Principles of Macro- and Microeconomics, Statistics for Economics, Mathematics for Economics, Intermediate Microeconomics, An Economic Analysis of the Great Recession. Anca has a passion for teaching community engagement (CE) courses. Her students in the most recent CE course that she taught partnered up with Ten Thousand Villages and researched on fair trade issues in Africa.

Anca’s research interests include area studies with emphasis on Central and Eastern European economies, trade and trade modeling and forecasting, environmental economics and economic education.

Anca speaks four languages, loves to travel and experience different cultures.