Case Study The International Trade Game Education Essay


This game is a version of the World Trade Game developed by the Third World development charity Action Aid. I have amended it to be suited for pupils get downing a class in economic sciences, economic development or international trade, although it could be used with pupils analyzing related topics.

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I besides use it as portion of a year-12 unfastened twenty-four hours at UWE in early July for pupils who have merely completed AS Economicss and are believing of analyzing Economicss at university.

The game is fun to play ; it needs no computer science installations and uses merely really basic equipment, such as scissors, pencils, swayers and paper ; fixing the stuffs for the game normally takes about 20-30 proceedingss and, except for paper, all the stuffs used for the game can be reused. You need merely one member of staff for up to 240 pupils ; all the necessary instructions can be given to the participants within 2 proceedingss ; and there are many economic ‘lessons ‘ that can be drawn from the game.

Overview of the game

Students are divided into squads, each of which acts as a separate ‘country ‘ , with between two and 10 pupils in each squad. There are five or six states in a game. A game therefore can be played with between 10 and 60 pupils. More than one game can be played at the same time, if the room is large plenty, but there must be no interaction between the games.

States compete against each other to ‘manufacture ‘ paper forms ( circles, trigons, rectangles, etc. ) and sell them to an international trade good market bargainer at posted monetary values, which vary with supply and demand. The aim for each state is to do as much money as possible.

There are three types of state in a game:

two rich industrialized states ;

one or two middle-income states ;

two low-income states.

Students are non told this ; they find out as they play the game.

The game requires a big level room, with loose tabular arraies and chairs.

Room layout

Merely one lector is required as game leader even if more than one game is being played, but one extra individual is required to move as a ‘commodity bargainer ‘ in each game. This individual could be a pupil. It is besides utile to hold one or two ‘observers ‘ for each game. These excessively can be pupils. Experienced game leaders could manage up to four coincident games ( i.e. up to 240 pupils ) if the room is appropriate. The game takes between 45 and 90 proceedingss to play. This is followed by hiting, coverage by pupils and adjudication by the lector, who will likely desire to pull assorted economic lessons from the game. This all lasts a farther 20-45 proceedingss. Students find the game gratifying and quickly enter into its spirit.

Fixing for the game

You will necessitate to make four things.

Prepare an envelope of resources for each state

Put up postings on the wall demoing the forms, their measurings and their initial values ( usually two per game ) . These postings are enlarged ( e.g. from A4 to A3 ) , so that pupils can non merely follow out the forms. ( Microsoft Word format ) ( Rich Text Format )

Prepare an envelope for the trade good bargainer ( usually one per game ) .

Prepare an envelope of resources for yourself as game leader

If you are playing two or more games ( or ‘worlds ‘ ) at the same time, you will necessitate to divide them with a line of tabular arraies or some other barrier, as pupils must non traverse from one game to another.

Get downing off the game

State the pupils to go forth all bags and any equipment ( e.g. paper or pens ) at the forepart and so to sit themselves around the bunchs of tabular arraies. Distribute the envelopes to each of the states.

The game requires minimum, but clear instructions instantly that pupils have sat round the tabular arraies and before they have opened their envelopes. The moral force of the game requires that there is no preamble explicating the intent of the game and surely no sum-up from the lector explicating what the game is supposed to exemplify. It is of import for the pupils to work out what they should make.

Instruction manuals given out at the start of the game

Once the instructions are understood, it is clip for the lector to state pupils how long they have to play the game ( normally 45 proceedingss ) and to denote the start of fabrication.

During the game

At the beginning of the game there will be a batch of confusion and pupils will hold many inquiries, such as ‘Where can I acquire scissors? ‘ , ‘Why have we merely got paper? ‘ , ‘Can we buy things off other states? ‘ , ‘Can we combine with other states? ‘ , ‘Can we have a loan? ‘ Resist all enticement to reply these inquiries. Merely reiterate what you said at the beginning. After a minute or two they should get down traveling around the room and trading, but the enterprise should come from them, non you. The rich states ( A1 and A2 ) will likely get down doing forms, as they have all the stuffs and equipment that they need, but they will shortly run out of natural stuffs and will likely seek to purchase some paper from other groups.

Role of Observers. Use the perceivers to describe back to you on what is traveling on. This will assist to give you information for the debrief session at the terminal. For illustration, acquire them to happen out what is go oning to the scissors – the one important implement that has to be used for all forms and is possessed ab initio by merely two states. Make the rich states form a scissors trust? Do they sell one brace to another state ; or do they engage them out? Perceivers should watch how groups negotiate the monetary values of paper and other stuffs. They should observe the formation and operation of any confederations and trades and any cheating that takes topographic point. Perceivers should besides describe to you any malpractice, such as stealing other states ‘ paper, implements or forms. It is up to you to make up one’s mind whether you should disregard the job, thereby encouraging states to make their ain policing, or whether you should enforce a penalty, such as suspending them from doing forms for 5 proceedingss, impounding certain stuffs or ticketing them.

Role of trade good bargainer. The bargainer must be careful in mensurating the forms and reject any that have non been cut out. Alternatively, if they have been torn carefully against a swayer, or are merely somewhat excessively big or little, a decreased monetary value could be given. You could go forth this to the bargainer to make up one’s mind, or you could hold a policy in progress. The bargainer must maintain a close oculus on the money to forestall pupils stealing it, sooner maintaining it out of their range. Shapes that have been sold should be put into an envelope or box, once more out of range of pupils.

Traders should non usually give loans, unless you want to construct this in as a characteristic of the game, in which instance you should make up one’s mind in progress what involvement rate to bear down – likely a high rate, such as 50 per cent. If loans are allowed, the bargainer should maintain a record of them. In such instances, it might be a good thought to apportion an helper to the bargainer. It is easy for loans non to be repaid, but at the terminal of the game, when money is totalled, the bargainer will merely denote how much has to be deducted ( outstanding loan plus involvement ) from each squad.

Your function as game leader. You will necessitate to maintain in regular contact with the bargainer. Find out which forms are being sold in big measures ( likely the trigons and rectangles ) and which are barely being sold at all ( likely the circles and the protractor-sized semi-circles ) . Then blow the whistling and announce that, owing to the forces of demand and supply, the monetary values of certain forms have changed. You can take how much to alter the monetary values, but a dramatic alteration stimulates more involvement and provides a stronger focal point for ulterior treatment. For illustration, when the pupils are debriefed after they have finished the game, it is easier to mention to the importance of monetary value snap of demand and monetary value snap of supply when the monetary value alterations have been dramatic. For similar grounds, it is better to alter monetary values really infrequently. The monetary value of peculiar forms will besides impact the value of peculiar tools. If circles go up in monetary value, this will impact the demand for compasses. This relationship can be identified subsequently in the debriefing.

Excess dimensions can be introduced into the game by imitating the outgrowth of new engineering, new natural stuffs or new equipment. It is of import to do certain that the perceivers are primed to concentrate upon the reactions of groups to each alteration. The debrief will depend to a great extent on the quality of the information they are able to supply.

The development of new engineering can be simulated by giving about 8 coloured little gluey forms to one of the low-income states, without bespeaking the possible usage of those forms. The game leader so goes to one ( or both ) of the rich or middle-income states and informs them that the value of a standard form is trebled if it has a colored form attached to it and that one of the low-income states possesses coloured forms. This scenario could besides imitate the find of natural stuffs in a underdeveloped state, which are so developed by a transnational corporation puting in the state and conveying its expertness and engineering with it.

You could besides increase the stock of capital by selling a farther brace scissors by auction. This will necessitate to be done comparatively early on in the game and you will necessitate to denote your purpose 5 or 10 proceedingss before you do so. Although the hapless states would in a heartfelt way like to purchase a brace, one of the rich states is more likely to be successful at the auction. It might so engage out the scissors to a hapless state.

As the game progresses, paper will quickly run out. Trade in paper is likely to take topographic point, with the monetary value of paper lifting to run into its value in footings of the forms that can be made from it. The game can be prolonged by presenting more paper ( imitating the find of new natural stuffs ) . You can make this in two ways. First, you may give some to one or both of the low-income states. The 2nd manner is to sell more paper. A good manner of making this is to keep a paper auction, where you sell about 10 sheets, one at a clip. Announce that in 5 proceedingss ‘ clip you will be keeping an auction and ask for one representative from each state to go to. The two issues are:

How will the monetary value at the auction reflect the value of forms that can be made from it?

Will the bidders collude to drive down the monetary value?

You can pull lessons from this in the debrief session at the terminal.

Ending the game

The pupils should be given a 5-minute warning of when the game will stop. There will likely be a bustle of activity as pupils rush to do forms with their staying paper and convey those forms to the trade good bargainer. When the game ends, the game leader should inquire all the pupils to return to their states and to reply three inquiries:

What was in their envelopes when they opened them?

What implements do they presently own?

How much money do they hold?

Collating consequences and debriefing pupils

A whiteboard or impudent chart can be used to enter the consequences. The reply to the first of the inquiries ( what was in the envelopes? ) is known and it is helpful if this information has already been recorded on the impudent chart or whiteboard. The replies to the other two inquiries can be gathered rapidly so that the groups can easy compare their experience with that of other groups.

It can be helpful to organize the debriefing into three phases:

Phase 1. Draw pupils ‘ attending to similarities and differences between the consequences from different groups. Make the groups that started with the same resources perform in a similar manner? How much of the difference between the groups was due to schemes pursued and how much to the initial gift? It is besides appropriate at this phase to present inquiries that prompt pupils to depict how they felt about the game as it developed. For illustration, the coach could inquire pupils in the different types of state how they felt when they opened their envelopes.

Some farther suggestions for inquiries to inquire in this first phase

Phase 2. The 2nd phase consists of inquiring the pupils to bespeak ways in which they believe the game simulates the existent universe and ways in which they believe it is unrealistic. The capacity for simulations to impact pupils ‘ thought depends a great trade on whether they believe that the universe is reflected in the simulation. It is rather usual for some pupils to disregard as unrealistic facets of a simulation that the lector is trusting to utilize to exemplify a theoretical thought.

One of the strengths of this game is that the built-in inequality in resource gift that gives the game its typical character is difficult to contend as a contemplation of the existent universe economic system. Students are more likely to oppugn the manner in which the game simulates the chances that these gifts create for different states and how those chances are exploited.

Phase 3. In the 3rd phase of the debriefing, the coach aims to assist pupils to compare the manner they have analysed their experience in the game with the penetrations derived from economic thoughts and the grounds that economic experts have assembled. This portion of the debrief should be focused on those thoughts that have been selected in the coveted acquisition results for the activity. The debriefing of course begins as a big treatment group led by the coach. However, if this format is maintained for more than 10-15 proceedingss, some pupils will acquire ungratified and there will be force per unit area for the coach to stop the session.

Given that the debriefing represents the coach ‘s chief chance to develop pupils ‘ thought, it is of import to happen ways of avoiding a short and instead low-level treatment. The debriefing session demands to be planned every bit carefully as the activity. Typically this will affect inquiring pupils to discourse a twosome of inquiries and statements ( during phases 2 and 3 ) within their ‘country ‘ groups. In phase 3, when the focal point is on economic thoughts and grounds, it can be utile to hold a little piece of grounds for each group to see before returning to the whole-group treatment.

Learning results

The International Trade Game has a broad scope of possible acquisition results, and with suited focal point, particularly during the procedure of debriefing, a figure of economic subjects might be identified and developed more to the full. These subjects range from simple trade theory to issues of imperfect information and even debates environing international inequality and first and 3rd universe dealingss.

A comprehensive list of economic subjects that can be discussed

Equally good as subject-related acquisition results, the International Trade Game helps develop a figure of cardinal accomplishments. Group working and interacting with others are among the most important. The procedure of negotiating is besides a really strong component within this game.

Envelopes of stuffs for states

Each squad ( state ) is given an envelope of stuffs at the start of the game. You will necessitate to make full each envelope with the appropriate stuffs in progress and label the envelope. The undermentioned envelopes are required for each game.

Rich states: A1, A2

2 braces of scissors

2 swayers

1 compass

1 set square ( the exact size of the big triangular form )

1 protractor ( the exact size of the semi-circular form )

2 pencils

1 sheet of A4 paper

6 – & A ; lb ; 100 notes ( or ˆ100 or $ 100 ) .

Middle-income states: B1, B2

2 pencils

1 swayer

10 sheets of A4 paper

3 – & A ; lb ; 100 notes ( or ˆ100 or $ 100 )

Low-income states: C1, C2

2 pencils

4 sheets of A4 paper

2 – & A ; lb ; 100 notes ( or ˆ100 or $ 100 )

Envelope of stuffs for international trade good market bargainer ( one per game )

The bargainer is given an envelope with money and a templet of the forms, so that he/she can look into whether the forms are the right size. The templet besides gives the gap monetary values for the forms.

Template of forms with their monetary values

Bills: 30 @ & A ; lb ; 50, 60 @ & A ; lb ; 100, 20 @ & A ; lb ; 500, 40 @ & A ; lb ; 1000

Pencil and rubber for taging alterations to the monetary values of forms

Large envelope for maintaining completed forms ‘secure ‘

Envelope or box of stuffs for game ( s ) leader


6 little coloured gluey forms per game

10 sheets A4 paper per game

Pencil sharpener


Instruction manuals for get downing the game

As pupils come into the room, the game leader should make the followers.

State the pupils to go forth all bags and any equipment ( e.g. paper or pens ) at the forepart and so to sit themselves around the bunchs of tabular arraies ( see the siting diagram ) .

Distribute the envelopes to each of the states.

Give the undermentioned instructions about the game:

‘Each of the groups is a squad and represents a state. The aim for each state is to do as much money for itself as possible by utilizing the stuffs in the envelope. No other stuffs can be used. Use the stuffs to fabricate paper forms. You can take to do any of the forms shown on the diagrams on the wall.

All forms must be cut with clean crisp borders utilizing scissors and must be of the exact size specified on the diagrams. The forms can so be sold to the bargainer in batches, who will look into them for truth and interchange them for hard currency. Inaccurate forms will be rejected. You can fabricate as many forms as you like – the more you make, the richer you will go. You must non cut up your envelope!

[ If applicable ] You can travel around the room, but must non traverse into the neighbouring universe ( s ) , who are playing a parallel game. ]

If you hear me whistle [ demonstrate ] , you must instantly halt what you are making and pay attending. If there is any difference, I will settle it. My word is concluding! No physical force is to be used in the game. ‘

Give no farther instructions. It is of import for the pupils to work out what they should make.

Announce the start of fabrication and state them how long they have to play the game.

Questions to present in the first phase of the debriefing

( To more successful states ) How did you accomplish your success? What jobs did you experience and what schemes did you utilize to get the better of them?

( To less successful states ) What factors limited your success? What strategies did you prosecute? Which strategies failed and why? Now that you have learned how to play the game, what would you make otherwise following clip?

( To states that formed confederations ) Why did you organize the confederation? How good did it work? What prevented it from interrupting up?

Compare the schemes of successful A states, which likely involved working their clear advantage at the beginning of the game, with those of comparatively successful B and C states, which likely involved cagey dialogue and possibly uniting with other states.

Economic constructs that can be illustrated by the game

The International Trade Game can be used to exemplify the undermentioned economic subjects:

Specialization and division of labor. How did squads split up the undertakings? Was it more efficient to hold some pupils cutting out the forms, while others queued to sell the forms, while others negotiated, and others scouted around to see what other squads were making and whether there were chances that could be of benefit.

Opportunity cost. What was the cost in footings of lost clip, value from forms, deficiency of entree to equipment, etc. of peculiar determinations?

Supply and demand and the finding of monetary value. Why did monetary values vary as they did in the game? What determines the magnitude of trade good monetary value alterations in the existent universe?

Monetary values as signals and inducements. How did teams respond to monetary value alterations ; how elastic was their supply and why? Did anticipated monetary value alterations affect the production of forms or when they were taken to the bargainer?

Derived demand and the monetary value of inputs. How did the monetary values of forms affect the monetary value of assorted pieces of equipment or their rental value? Do the same rules apply to pencils ( in comparatively plentiful supply ) and scissors ( in comparatively short supply ) ?

Trusts and oligopolistic collusion. What cartels did organize? What trusts could hold formed, and how would they hold affected the balance of advantage in the game?

Game theory: scheme, bargaining, trust, etc. What incentives were there for lodging to understandings and for interrupting them? How would the figure of people in a squad or the figure of squads involved in an understanding affect the likeliness of lodging to or interrupting an understanding? How did hazard attitudes determine scheme?

The jurisprudence of comparative advantage. Why do states specialize in peculiar merchandises? How does this depend on their resources? How does it associate to chance cost?

Footings of trade. What determines the comparative monetary value of forms and how does this relate to resources? Can states act upon the monetary value of forms?

World inequality. You could mention to the distribution of resources in the universe and ownership forms. What determines whether inequality is likely to increase or diminish over clip?

The importance of market power in international trade. What is the function of multinationals? How do they command markets? Is at that place anything that developing states can make to make offseting power?

The importance of resources and engineering in finding trade forms. Certain equipment is best designed to bring forth certain forms. You could demo how control over this equipment affects the form of trade and can act upon monetary values.

Imperfect information and moving on expected monetary values. How do monetary value outlooks influence production and the timing of gross revenues? On what footing are monetary value outlooks formed? Do people larn from experience?

Hazard and uncertainness. There are several facets of the game which involve uncertainness. These include the likeliness of obtaining equipment, hereafter monetary values, the result of the paper auction, the function of the colored gluey forms, the effects of dialogues between other states on their behavior, and whether and what penalty will be imposed by the leader for ‘malpractice ‘ .

Command and auctions. What determines the monetary value at auctions? What determines whether there will be any collusion between bidders and what would be the result of that collusion?

The game may besides be used to exemplify a figure of more general development issues, such as the impotence of hapless states. It gives participants the chance to see assorted emotions concerned with production and trade in an unequal universe: emotions such as enviousness, greed, defeat and the desire to get away poorness by any agencies. In so making, it can assist pupils to derive a greater empathy with development and trading issues. To that extent it encourages pupils to travel off from a typical text edition history of the embedded thoughts and motivate them to see alternate motivations that might motivate economic behavior.

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