University of Oxford

Rick van der Ploeg

Research Web Site

International Economics – Open Economy Macro, Third Year Undergraduate, University of Oxford (2018-2019)

World Economic Outlook and Global Imbalances – National income accounting and the balance of payments (KOM13 + Bernanke speech (2015) + Obstfeld Ely Lecture (2012)); Exchange rates, money and the FOREX markets (KOM14, 15); Prices and exchange rates in the long run and in the short run (KOM16, 17 + Dornbusch (1976)); Primer on modern open economy macroeconomics – Fiscal and monetary policy (CS1-3, 9; Carlin/Soskice CEPR (2010));  Intervention, fixed exchange rates and speculative attacks (KOM18 + Olivier (2000); Gold Standard, Bretton Woods and the monetary trilemma (KOM19 + Obstfeld, Shambaugh and Taylor (2008)); Optimum currency areas and the Euro (CS10-12, KOM21 + Wyplosz (2006) + House and Tesar (2015)); Financial global crises, developing countries, “original sin” (KOM 20, 22, CS5-7, CS14 + Caballero (2010))

Macroeconomics – Public Debt, Second Year Undergraduate, University of Oxford (2017-2019)

Normative and positive theories of public debt, empirics of public debt, policy implications, tackling debt bias and Fiscal Councils

Cultural Policy, Master Course, Accademia, Teatro Alla Scala, Milan (2017-2019)

Excludable versus non-excludable goods, rival versus non-rival goods, public goods, prestige and merits goods, elitism, Bourdieau’s distinction hypothesis, Veblen’s conspicuous consumption, luxury goods, Giffen goods; cultural policy: arms-length principle, peer review – Vasari and John Stuart Mill, state art, culture in market economies; high culture and/or dumbing down; access, diversity of makers, art and audiences; reproductive versus unique art, digital art and shift from physical to weightless cultural goods, autonomous and shift to applied arts; labour-intensive production and Baumol’s cost disease; network externalities; knowledge and creative economy; consumer surplus and value of arts and how to measure it; sound and bad arguments for cultural subsidies

International Finance, Master Financial Economics, Said Business School (2017-2018)

World economic outlook; a primer on open economy macroeconomics and policy; the origins and legacies of the global financial crisis; the Euro Area after Brexit; currencies, capital flows and financial stability; financial globalization and growth; sovereign debt, sovereign wealth, and international governance

Understanding Complexity: Economics and the Planet, Master and PhD students from different disciplines, Utrecht University (2016-2017)

This series of is open to scientists and social scientists and explores the nature of complexity in both physical and biological processes as well as in economics and political science with a special interest in climate change, wars and financial crises and what might be done about these phenomena. Technically, it will become clear that complex dynamic systems, risk and uncertainty, games, thresholds, anticipation about future events, regime shifts and catastrophes are not only key to understanding scientific processes but also key to understanding how society should cope with such complexity. The objective is to learn from different disciplines following the dictum that the most beautiful flowers grow at interfaces. The required background is foremost an inquisitive mind and willingness to go across borders. The course is suited for those studying mathematics, atmospheric science, climate physics, physics, biology, geography, economics and other subjects that deal with complexity. The series benefits from both established scholars in the various fields, both from Utrecht University and from outside.

Spatial Economics, PhD Course, Tinbergen Institute (2015-2017)

Climate Economics: Green Paradox, spatial leakage, pricing carbon, locking up fossil fuel

Environmental and Resource Economics, PhD Course, Tinbergen Institute (2013-2015)

Natural resource curse: natural resource curse: explanation & evidence; natural resources: evidence for corruption and trade diversification; pollution havens: theory & evidence; Green Paradox and optimal carbon taxation; catastrophes and optimal climate policies; political economy of natural resource windfalls and wars; Green Paradox: partial and general equilibrium

Natural Resources and Development, M.Sc. Economics for Development, Oxford Institute for International Development, University of Oxford (2013-2014)

Natural resources: curse or blessing?; micro-evidence on the effect of natural resources on development; using fiscal policy to manage natural resources; climate change policy

Natural Resource Economics, IMF Institute, Washington, DC, Spring 2010.

IMF Institute Course Outline

Growth theory, FEE, University of Amsterdam, Fall 2009 (with Tim Willems). 

Charles I. Jones (2002), Introduction to Economic Growth, New York: W.W. Norton, 2nd edition

Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson and J. Robinson (2001), “The Colonial Origins of Comparative  Development: An Empirical Investigation”, American Economic Review, 91 (5), pp. 1369-1401.

Aghion, P. and P. Howitt (1992), “A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction”, Econometrica, 60 (2), pp. 323-351.

Benhabib, J. and M.M. Spiegel (1994), “The Role of Human Capital in Economic Development: Evidence from Aggregate Cross-Country Data”, Journal of Monetary Economics, 34, pp. 143-173.

Hall, R.E. and C.I. Jones (1999), “Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114 (1), pp. 83-116.

Jones, C.I. (1995), “Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110 (2), pp. 495-525.

Mankiw, N.G., D. Romer and D.N. Weil (1992), “A Contribution to the Empirics of Economics Growth”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107 (2), pp. 407-437.

Ranciere, R., A. Tornell and F. Westermann (2008), “Systemic Crises and Growth”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123 (1), pp. 359-406.

M.Phil. in Economics, Lectures 15 (Resource curse) and 16 Climate change and developing countries) for Development Economics, University of Oxford, Fall 2009.

MFE Elective ‘The International Economy: Trade and Globalisation, Summer Term 2009, Oxford Business School, University of Oxford (With Tony Venables and Beata Javorcik).  MFE Outline.pdf

Ph.D. Environmental and Resource Economics 2008-10 (Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam/Rotterdam, with Cees Withagen) This course consists of 3.5 lectures on the economics of resource-rich economies (van der Ploeg, 1/3, 8/3, 15/3), 0.5 lecture on the Green Paradox (van der Ploeg/Withagen, 22/3), and three lectures on the issue of trade versus environment (Withagen).

  1. Economics of natural resources (van der Ploeg): Why do countries rich in natural resources varying from gold, silver, copper, diamonds, oil, gas etc. often have such a disastrous economic performance with very dire social consequences. Indeed, that is the plight of many economies in Africa, witness for example Congo and Nigeria. Still, other economies such as Botswana and Norway seem to fare relatively well. The lectures provide empirical evidence and also give theoretical insights on why some resource-rich economies do well and others do badly, and we then move on to derive welfare-based policy recommendations. We need to go further than the usual harmful Dutch disease effects originating from an appreciation of the real exchange rate, a decline of the traded sector and a loss in learning by doing, and consider political economy of rent grabbing, corruption and conflict. In addition, we will cover how exhaustible natural resources may be transformed in to reproducible physical or human capital by saving the Hotelling rents on natural resources both in homogenous and in fractionalized societies. The theoretical underpinning, or lack of it, will be discussed as well. We will also discuss optimal ways of harnessing windfalls such as sovereign wealth funds, citizen dividends, public infrastructure and paying off debt. We will pay attention to capital-scarcity, bottlenecks in the non-traded and construction sectors, and also to the problem of coping with the notorious volatility of commodity prices.

Lecture 1A: Survey of the natural resource curse (RP 5, PP 1, 6)

Lecture 1B: Is the natural resource curse avoidable? Empirics (RP 3, 24, 33);

Lecture 2A: Harnessing natural resource windfalls (RP 15, 9, 27, PP 4)

Lecture 2B: Rapacious resource extraction (RP 2, 10, 16);

Lecture 3A: Dutch disease dynamics, home-grown capital and absorption constraints

Lecture 3B: War and natural resource extraction (RP 17, 18, 42);

Lecture 4A: Aggressive oil depletion and precautionary oil buffers (RP 21)

Lecture 4B: Climate change, natural resources and the Green Paradox (RP 35, PP 5).

Literature: Barbier, E.B. (2005). Natural Resources and Economic Development, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; Dasgupta, P.S. and G.M. Heal (1979). Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources, Nisbet/Cambridge. Chapters 6-8, 10-11. OxCarre Research papers (RP’s) and Policy Papers (PP’s) to be found on  

  1. Trade Liberalization and Environmental Quality (Withagen): Environmentalists have expressed strong criticism against the globalization of international trade, claiming that it has adverse side-effects in the form of a degradation of the environment. We study the conditions under which trade increases pollution in small open economies. Topics addressed are: -Pollution Haven Models of International Trade Is trade driven by environmental policy differences necessarily bad for the environment? Do rich countries benefit at the expense of poor countries? -Factor Endowments, Policy Differences and Pollution We explore the trade-off between factor endowments and endogenous environmental policies as causes for trade. -Is Free Trade Good for the Environment? Empirics The previous two topics give rise to (i) the pollution haven hypothesis and (ii) the factor endowment hypothesis. Both are simultaneously tested for. Lectures 5, 6 and 7.

Literature: Copeland, B. R. and Taylor, M.S. (2003). Trade and the Environment: Theory and Evidence, Princeton University press, Princeton.

B.Sc. Macroeconomics 208BE, English Language 2008-9 (University of Amsterdam, with Petr Sedlacek and Ward Romp)

Grading: The final grade is based for 85% on written three-hour exam based on required literature. The exam is closed book. Passing the written exam is a minimum requirement (minimum 50% score) to pass the course. The remaining 15% is based on homework exercises: 3 times a set of exercises, 5% each, hence 15% of total. Missing marks for homework assignments cannot be compensated. Homework should be handed in at the beginning of class indicated in the schedule (in weeks 3,5,7). Marks for homework remain valid for retake exams during the course year.

Suggested time allocation: Course attendance 42 hours. Reading literature 120 hours. Preparing classes and exercises 50 hours. Homework (exercises) 28 hours. Exam preparation 40 hours. Total 280 hours. 

Ph.D. Topics in Public Finance Reading List 2007-8 (EUI, Florence)

Ph.D. Topics in Public Finance Background Reading List 2007-8 (EUI, Florence)

Public Policy and the Welfare State Kiel ISEO Summer School on Public Policy, 2007

M.Sc. Macroeconomics I 2002-3 (LSE, London)