The Economics of Resource Rich Countries

SAM20 The Economics of Resource Rich Countries

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    The course covers the following main topics:

    • Climate risks: The consequences of climate change and associated policies, especially for firms and countries involved in the production of hydrocarbons
    • Policies against climate change: Design of international climate policies and the green paradox
    • The resource curse: associated macroeconomic policy challenges, including saving versus spending of resource revenues, the phasing-in of resource revenues and the so-called Dutch disease
    • Firms and resources: The behaviour of firms in the resource industries such as producers of minerals, precious metals and oil
    • Investments in resources across countries: The roles of institutions and taxation for exploration and production
    • Global markets: oil, gas and minerals
    • Sustainable management of renewable resources: the tragedy of commons and approaches to better resource use
    • Aquaculture: Fundamental idea of renewable resource harvest with property rights, and the overview of the industry
    • Norwegian approach to resource management: history and current challenges

  • Learning outcome

    Students will understand the economics of abundance of natural resources such as oil and gas and be familiar with policies that let countries make the most out of such resources. 

    Upon completion of the course, students will:


    • have in-depth knowledge of firm behaviour in the resource industries, macroeconomic aspects of natural resource extraction, environmental aspects of the use of natural resources and how to prepare for various types of climate-related risks
    • be able to discuss the central academic literature on the course topics
    • be able to identify analytical approaches typically applied to answer questions within these areas, including both theory and empirics
    • be able to discuss popular policies within these areas


    • be able to explain relationships between natural resources, economic development and the environment in a stringent and academic manner
    • be able to critically analyse academic literature
    • be able to write and present an academic analysis as part of a team

    General competence

    • know where to seek out for further information on relevant topics, including data sources and international organizations
    • be able to discuss and participate actively in an international environment
    • applying insights from economics on real-world challenges
    • be aware of different interests and trade-offs across groups, sectors, and countries   

  • Teaching

    Lectures, short papers, and student presentations. Students are expected to attend the presentations of other groups.  To prevent infection of COVID-19, if the number of students taking this course is greater than the capacity of the classroom,  we split the students into two groups and assign each group to attend or stay home and watch live-stream of the lecture alternately by week. We use Zoom for the online teaching program. The link and passwords will be provided on the Canvas course website.  If another pandemic occurs and a new lockdown is implemented, we will move to online teaching via Zoom. The presentation will also be online. 

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Basic courses in microeconomics, such as SAM1 and SAM2 at NHH.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Overlap with VOA051.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Three short papers: During the semester, students will in groups of maximum 4 hand in short papers (3 pages). There will be about one question for each topic, of which the group can choose and need to submit and get the approval of three. The three submitted short papers are the basis for course approval and it is only valid in the semester it is submitted. 

  • Assessment

    The course assessment has two elements:

    1) Oral group presentation of one of the three submitted short papers (30%). 

    • Group size: 2-4.
    • ​Duration: 30 minutes.

    2) Three hours individual written take-home exam (70%).

    For re-take of the oral presentation, students have to obtain new course approval (new papers). For re-take of the digital take-home exam, new course approval is not necessary.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A - F.

  • Literature

    Bhattacharyya, S. (2011). Energy Economics. Springer.

    Humphreys, M., J.D. Sachs and J.E. Stiglitz eds. (2007), Escaping the Resource Curse, Columbia University Press.

    Note: Other literature may be added during the course.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2021.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Torfinn Harding, Department of Economics (main course responsible)

Assistant professor Keita Abe, Department of Economics