Robert McCleery

Associate Professor, International Policy and Development

I am passionate about the effort to reduce global poverty and inequality.  My research, consulting and teaching all point towards that goal.  It is the unifying theme of my work on trade, investment, infrastructure, migration and productivity, as well as the focus of my classes in development and trade.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS is
the endless variety of backgrounds and experiences that students bring to my classes. By seeing the world through their eyes, old material becomes new again and my own perspectives and horizons are broadened.

Professor McCleery was a visiting associate professor at Claremont McKenna College and an associate professor at Kobe University, Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration. In addition, he has served as a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford and as a research associate for the East-West Center Development Policy Program.  He is a Research Associate of the Center for East Asian Studies.

His work has appeared in the flagship journals of both economics (American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, and Journal of Economic Perspectives) and political science (American Political Science Review), as well as regional journals (Journal of Asian Economics and Journal of North American Economics and Finance). He has recently authored papers on NAFTA expansion, economic policy reforms in Latin America, Asian development, and financial liberalization in China and Asia-Pacific Economics Cooperation (APEC).

Professor McCleery's international experiences include consulting for government-funded research agencies like the Ministry of Trade in Indonesia, Government of Malaysia, Institute for Developing Economies (Tokyo), and Korea Development Institute; International organizations like Asian Development Bank, UNDP, and UNDESD; US government and non-governmental organizations like International Center for Economic Growth, State of Hawaii, Senator Graham (D-FL), Council on Foreign Relations, US International Trade Commission, and US Commerce Department; and university research centers such as UCLA, University of Michigan, El Colegio de Mexico.


International economics, migration, trade and trade agreements, Asian and Latin American trade and development, foreign direct investment, international finance


PhD, Economics, Stanford University, BA, Economics, University of Hawaii


“The Washington Consensus: A Post Mortem,” with Fernando DePaolis, in Asian Development, Miracles and Mirages: Essays in Honor of Seiji Naya, Sumner La Croix, ed., Summer 2006.

“NAFTA and the Broader Impacts of Trade Agreements on Industrial Development: When ‘Second-Order Effects’ Dominate,” in Empirical Methods in International Economics: Essays in Honor of Mordechai Kreinin, Edward Elgar (Michael Plummer, ed.) 2004, pp.216-228.

“Bangladesh: Searching for a Workable Development Path,” with Seiji Naya and Fernando DePaolis, Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol.1 No.3, Dec. 2004, pp.1-20.  Japanese translation published in Development and Poverty in Asia: Women's Empowerment and Quality Of Life, Yukio Ikemoto and Noriatsu Matsui, eds., forthcoming April 2006.

“NAFTA as a Metaphor for the Globalization Debate,” with Raul Hinojosa Ojeda in NAFTA in the New Millennium, Peter Smith and Edward Chambers, eds., (University of Alberta Press, 2003).

Working with Economic Data in Trade Policy Advocacy, with Moyara Ruehsen and Geza Feketekuty, (Monterey: International Commercial Diplomacy Project, 2001) published on-line at  Revised, with the assistance of Fernando DePaolis, October 2002.

Human Resource Development and Sustainable Growth,” Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies Vol. 37, No. 1&2, 2000, pp. 27-51.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

IMGT 8600 - Intl Trade&Investment Simlatn      

This course will present students with the opportunity to explore a number of issues and concerns relating to international business, from economics and finance to human resources and operations management. Using an expanded version of the International Trade Game developed by the instructor for use in IM520, students will:
1. Select a country in which to locate a new production facility, based on a matrix of countries and variables, which will involve researching 18 issues, from labor laws to expected inflation;
2. Negotiate with the prospective host country governments for investment incentives;
3. Finance their investment (in home, host, or third country capital markets);
4. Manage their subsidiary to maximize profits, within the confines of local laws and international codes of conduct;
5. Present their business strategies to an annual stockholder’s meeting and in an annual report; and
6. Evaluate your classmates by allocating your investments to the best run companies. Grades will be based on your subsidiary’s performance, how much investment you attract from your classmates, and how well your own investment portfolio performs.

Spring 2011 - MIIS

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IPOL 8593 - GP&S Colloquium:EmergngMarkets      

In the past two decades, emerging economies—including, but not limited to, the celebrated “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). This course will take on, and contribute to, debates surrounding these emerging markets. How have they become the darlings of international capital markets, regional economic and political leaders, and the brightest lights in a gloomy global economic landscape? Along with this rapid economic growth, these same countries are also experiencing dramatic social changes, environmental problems, political transitions and foreign policy frictions. How can these growing pains be effectively managed?

Today’s global challenges often require global solutions and a small number of developed countries ( such as G8) can no longer effectively coordinate policy solution to address global crises, including economic recession, financial crisis, and climate change negotiations. As such, the G20, including a number of the emerging economies in its membership, has risen to prominence as a new forum for global governance. The experiences of these countries also offer an opportunity to think about larger questions of global order and national development. What constitutes power in the global political economy and how is it/should it be/is it beginning to be (re)distributed? How can state and market work together to generate equitable and participatory growth? How should the BRICS and other emerging economies be factored into the 21st century’s policy challenges, such as climate change or reworking international financial institutions after the recent economic crisis? What do the experiences of the emerging markets mean for the many people who still lack access to the fruits of such growth--- including over a billion citizens of these countries themselves?

Spring 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8607 - Sem:IntlTrade&InvestmntSimlatn      

Spring 2011 - MIIS

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IPOL 8656 - Sem:Adv Economic Development      

In this class, students will integrate and expand on the theories and methodological tools introduced in Development Economics and Data Analysis (or Business Statistics) to do original, empirical research on a development policy issue of their choosing. In the first half of the course, tools such as cost-benefit analysis, input-output analysis, and multivariate regression analysis will be introduce and refined through readings and experimentation. Students will see how to select, clean and use data sets from national and international sources. Students and faculty, as a team, will address “macro” development questions such as the relationship between aid, governance, and development.
The second half of the course encourages students to evaluate the potential expansion of “micro” development policies. Each student will analyze a “successful” development policy in a specific country, confirm or refute its success, and prepare a plan for either expanding that policy to a different country and cultural context (if it is deemed successful) or rethinking and reconfiguring that policy in its current context to make it successful.

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8661 - Sem:Trade and Development      

Goals of the seminar: to illuminate two large questions: (a) How, exactly, are trade and development interdependent? and (b) What policies, national or international, should follow from the understanding we gain of (a)? We shall pursue these goals, both individually and collectively, through readings, structured discussions, external research, reporting of findings and writing.

Fall 2011 - MIIS

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IPOL 8687 - Adv Quant Analysis for Trade      

Trade policy professionals who negotiate, as well as those interested in how trade policies affect development through economic, social and environmental conditions within countries and industries, need to understand the underlying stakes and motivations of the parties involved, and how trade policies ripple throughout different sectors of the economy. To develop this understanding requires a firm grasp of micro and macroeconomics of trade and trade policy as well as knowledge of laws and institutions. This course strengthens students' ability to conduct and interpret basic economic analysis at the national, industry, and firm level. The course is a mixture of practical analytical skills and a survey of the most innovative research on the effects of trade policy on employment, incomes and select industrial and agricultural sectors.

Fall 2011 - MIIS

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IPSG 8502 - Intl Economics I: Trade      

This course looks at both the theory and practice of international trade. Topics include an analysis of the gains from free trade and the effects of barriers to trade such as tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and other instruments of commercial policy. Institutional frameworks for international trade – including regional trade agreements and the World Trade Organization – are also addressed.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8515 - Intro to Trade Policy      

This course serves as an introduction to the environments, processes, and main issues that compose the universe of trade policies. Because of the growing complexities of a more interdependent international environment, students need to expand their knowledge, sensitivity and skills in trade policies. Focus on the changing international environment, its trading institutions, key actors and issues; practices of analyzing, formulating and negotiating key trade policy issues.

Fall 2013 - MIIS

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IPSG 8551 / IPOL 8551 - Development Economics      

The question of why poverty is so persistent and why some countries remain poor, seemingly against all odds, has intrigued economists and other social scientists, and is the central concern of modern development economics. Since the mid-twentieth century, when many former colonies gained independence and started out on their own, experimenting with new economic policies, the questions of development economics have come to acquire an urgency that was not there earlier. And the last twenty years or so have seen an enormous resurgence of research interest in development economics. With so many international organizations and so many governments trying to craft effective policy for development, the rise of interest in development economics is not surprising. But apart from this practical importance, the foundational questions of development economics are also intellectually exciting. This course will give a fairly comprehensive account of modern development economics. We will cover the basics of development theory and policy. Fundamental to this are issues of definition and measurement, testing of theories, familiarity with problems of both short and long run, application of both micro and macroeconomics, interdisciplinary analysis, use of social benefit-cost analysis, and sources and uses of data for use as a country-desk officer of a bank or international agency.

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8603 - Sem:Asia's Dvlopmnt Challenges      

Rapid economic growth in Asia lead to a wide discussion and sometimes emulation of the "Asian Miracle." Asia's growth was noteworthy not just for its pace, but for the accompanying improvements in social indicators (education, life expectancy, etc.). Yet challenges to its sustainability have been brought by economists, environmentalists, and other social scientists. New problems, from the 1997-98 financial crisis to the 2001 trade recession, are emerging in both the "miracle" countries and those who were left behind by the recent wave of growth. In this course, we will address questions such as: How can development policies in Asia be adjusted to make growth more sustainable? How should different Asian countries, at different levels of development, respond to challenges such as poverty alleviation, governance, financial development, the IT revolution, and regional cooperation? What lessons can be learned from high-growth Asian countries, and can and should they be applied to developing countries in Asia and other regions?

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8607 - Sem:IntlTrade&InvestmntSimlatn      

The story:

In this course, you will role-play the project leader/team of a new production venture outside the US. It is 2004, and your jeans manufacturing company (Levi’s or similar company) finds that US production is no longer competitive with overseas production, as trade barriers and transportation costs fall. You will compete for the position of “Overseas production coordinator,” then research, negotiate, finance, and manage the firm’s overseas production center. This will, of course, require detailed knowledge and analysis of national laws, culture, macroeconomic and trade policies, regulatory environment, and other factors of importance in both business and policy analysis.

For MBA students, the class provides an opportunity to put into practice your previous classroom exposure to accounting, economics, finance, and operations principles. The course counts as a seminar for TID students, but rather than reading and discussing scholarly articles, it requires hands-on research, management, negotiations, and collaboration. Dual degree students (MBA and TID in particular) are especially welcome, there will be numerous opportunities to integrate materials from their different programs.

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8661 - Sem: Trade & Development      

The link between trade (and other aspects of globalization) and development is crucial to understanding the positions of developing countries towards trade liberalization and globalization in general and the Doha Round of WTO negotiations in particular. We will take a broad view of both trade and development, beginning with consensus definitions, then reviewing and critiquing expert analysis of these important interactions. You will be exposed to different viewpoints and different country cases, then encouraged to choose your own path in a very contentious field for your own case study. An overarching theme of the class is how to capture potential gains from trade, labor, and capital movements without a loss of sovereignty, social institutions, and cultural heritage.

Spring 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8675 - Adv Topics in Policy Analysis      


The course is designed to complete a full-cycle experience of research applied to policy processes, from conceptualization and design to effective deliverables. The sequence starts with the foundations offered in the Fall class, and continues with the field work in J-term. The Spring class delves deeper into the same relevant policy issues from the Fall and J-term, seeking to close the cycle with a report to stakeholders. While this report is not expected to be the final word on a complex policy issue, it should be more relevant and useful than could have been accomplished without the field research component.


• The main themes of the Spring class are additional theoretical/conceptual topics in design and policy analysis, as well as specific tools. Please keep in mind that not all tools will be applicable to all, or even perhaps any, of the specific projects chosen, but may be vital to future policy-relevant research and writing in your academic and professional careers.

• Hands-on analysis of the specific projects conducted in J-term, including further refining hypotheses to be tested, bolstering understanding of background materials and context, strengthening argumentation, analyzing data (from surveys, interviews, and/or other sources), and interjecting research findings effectively into the policymaking process.


The hallmark of this class is the intersection of theoretical discussions (covering aspects of policy analysis and research methods, economic development and its measurement, data analysis and effective data presentation, etc.) and the practical imperative of the specific projects, carried over from the first two classes. Student’s ownership of their topics supports a creative environment, assisted by the full faculty team, in which students can produce high-level reports worthy of inclusion in their professional portfolios. Teams will continue their analysis of concrete policy issues in El Salvador, Monterey, and Peru, although the range of research and policy analysis skills and techniques taught will not be limited to those directly applicable to all of these projects. Final deliverables must satisfy your “client,” who may not be one of the course instructors.

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG 8681 / IPOL 8681 - Sem: Quant Methods for Trade      

Trade policy professionals who formulate, negotiate, advise, or lobby for trade policies need to understand the underlying stakes and motivations of the parties involved. To develop this understanding requires a firm grasp of micro and macroeconomics of trade and trade policy and an ability to do “back of the envelop calculations” of gains and losses to different parties, in addition to negotiation skills, basic knowledge of international laws and institutions, etc. This course strengthens students’ ability to conduct and interpret basic and intermediate economic and commercial analysis. These include the ability to estimate the impact of trade policies on: (1) production, price, and trade flows, using short-run and long-run elasticities of supply and demand, (2) consumer and producer surplus, (3) tariff equivalents of quotas, subsidies, and other non-tariff barriers, (4) deadweight social loss triangles, (5) changes in profits due to changes in quantity and/or price of traded goods or services, (6) employment impacts of trade flows, and (7) how the impacts of specific policies have "spillover effects" on other sectors and at the macroeconomic level. Students also learn some simple “rules of thumb” to use in constructing estimates even when data are poor or non-existent, as is often true in developing countries.

Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS

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