Natural resources, investment and development


Course responsible: Associate Professor Torfinn Harding, NHH

Administrative contact: Administration Manager, Olga Pushkash, NHH

Learning outcome:

Upon completion of the course, the students will be able to
1.    Explain the most popular micro econometric techniques and identification methods used for the analysis of real world data
2.    Understand frontier applications of empirical methods within the fields of environment, natural resources and economic development
3.    Find sources of data relevant for analyses of the environment, natural resources and development
4.    Critically evaluate empirical strategies of research papers
5.    Design an empirical strategy for a given question within the fields of environment, natural resources and development


The course will cover standard econometric techniques such as difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity design, and instrumental variable methods. The applications of the techniques will be on questions related to the environment, natural resources and economic development, covering the use of microeconomic and geo-coded data, as well as energy price data and macro data.

Examples of topics: Development effects of electrification, decentralization and pollution spillovers, the political economy of deforestation, economic effects of oil discoveries, economic and environmental effects of mining, the political resource curse 

Recommended prerequisites: Econometrics at the master level

Assessment: Course paper


Data on production and endowments of energy and minerals, as well as land use change such as deforestation, are increasingly available. They are often at the micro-level and with information on geographical locations. The course will cover the application of modern micro econometric techniques, such as regression discontinuity design, difference-in-differences, and instrument variable methods. The course will demonstrate how such data and techniques may be used to answer questions related to natural resources and development. Examples of the topics are investments in the oil and gas sector and how they respond to risks of expropriation, effects of natural resources for development, and effects of institutions and regulation on the use of natural resources such as land.

The course will count for 3.5 ECTS and students are required to hand in a course paper to pass the course.

Register here