Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

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 http://www.commercialdiplomacy.org/instructional_modules.htm.  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]

DPPG8509 - Pacific Rim Dvlpmnt Challenges      

This dynamic region has been leading global growth over the past few decades. Yet many challenges and obstacles remain. Some of these challenges remain despite rapid economic growth (malnutrition, poor educational quality in rural areas, poor sanitation and related health problems, government corruption, women's rights and gender inequality, etc.). Others can be viewed as “collateral damage” from rapid economic growth (air and water pollution, rising income and asset inequality, aging populations, loss of cultural traditions and knowledge, etc.). Still others involve local, national, or regional responses to global challenges, such as climate change. Some challenges are local, regional, or national, while others require international cooperation and coordination to effectively address. Major players (US, EU, Japan, China, and maybe other BRICS) impact others in the region with their policy initiatives and shifting priorities. These challenges will require innovative policy initiatives, and this class will give students experience in drafting such policies.

Students will identify and research a specific challenge. This challenge can and should have multiple dimensions (social, human security, legal, political, etc.) but MUST include an economic dimension. Relevant economic principles will be introduced in lecture and discussion format to facilitate their incorporation into student research. Historical cases such as the Asian Financial Crisis and the global recession will be discussed, but the focus of the class will be forward looking.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG8520 / ITDG8520 - Intl Trade: Theory & Practice      

Trade theories and policies are studied, building from microeconomic principles and using a range of techniques, from rigorous economic modeling to simulations and role playing games. 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 2015 - MIIS, Fall 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG8551 - Development Economics      

The course is designed to introduce students to the complex subject of Economic Development, its terms, tools, and theories, as well as the policies designed to stimulate it and the pitfalls waiting to trap the unwary policymaker. Its complexity derives from defining economic development as the intersection of economic, political, and social dimensions and their evolution over time, within a specific geographic and historical context. The course will address the technical, ideological and sociological implications of the “process of economic development” in both more and less developed economies around the world.

Fall 2015 - MIIS, Fall 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG8661 - 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.

Fall 2015 - MIIS, Fall 2016 - MIIS

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IPSG8551 - 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 2015 - MIIS

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IPSG8675 - 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 2015 - MIIS

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ITDG8681 - Quant Analysis for Trade      

Trade policy professionals and others interested in the impacts of trade policies on countries and industries need to understand the underlying motivations of the parties involved. To develop this understanding requires a firm grasp of the 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 current methodologies and research on the effects of trade policy on employment, incomes and select industrial and agricultural sectors.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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