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]

DPPG 8509 - Pacific Rim Dvlpmnt Challenges      

Students will select, research, and present to the class a specific Pacific Rim Development Challenge, along with policy recommendations on how to cope with that challenge. The challenge must have an economic dimension, although it certainly may have social, political, and/or security dimensions as well. The instructor will present “just in time” and “just enough” tools of economic analysis appropriate to the specific questions and challenges to be incorporated in the student’s research. Deliverables will be a research paper, a presentation, and a short advocacy piece.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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DPPG 8520 - 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

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DPPG 8551 / IPSG 8551 - 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.

Spring 2015 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS

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DPPG 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.

Fall 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 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 2015 - MIIS

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ITDG 8520 - 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

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ITDG 8681 - Quant Analysis 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.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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