This chapter provides a succinct account of the rich intellectual history of the field of international trade and offers an overview of its modern workhorse models. This field has experienced a true revolution in recent years. Firms rather than countries or industries are now the central unit of analysis. The workhorse trade models used by most researchers both in theoretical work as well as in guiding empirical studies were published in the 2000s. While these benchmark frameworks ignore contractual aspects, they constitute the backbone of the models developed later in this volume, so the chapter provides a basic understanding of their key features.
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