Essays on development economics
- This dissertation is comprised of three chapters, all of which deal with topics in development economics. The first chapter explores the extent to which ability accounts for the observed differences in private school test scores versus public school test scores. The second chapter looks at the effects of an exogenous indigo price change in the nineteenth century on innovation. Finally, the third chapter looks at victims of violence during a civil war and tests whether victims of violence are targeted for their wealth, and particularly if this is the case for more liquid households. In school choice, and between private and public schools, sorting plays an important role. A sharp general equilibrium model of school choice is employed in Chapter 1 to estimate how much of the difference between private and public school test scores is due to ability differences. By calibrating a general equilibrium model and combining it with the universe of grade 8 test scores from Kenya across ten years, a distributional analysis is conducted to estimate the private school effect after controlling for ability sorting. Using the equilibrium distributions of ability from the model, the results suggest that, in the base case, the robust one standard deviation difference in test scores reduces to 0.50 standard deviations once heterogeneous ability is accounted for in each sector. Furthermore there is strong evidence that higher ability students perform better at private schools. Induced innovation, the idea that a relative change in factor prices will lead to innovation of the factor that has become relatively expensive, has strong theoretical foundations but scant empirical evidence. Chapter 2 uses the historical events of riots in Bengal, India and the American Civil War both in close succession in the late nineteenth century, to show how these events increased prices of natural indigo and induced innovation in synthetic colors. Identification comes from the substitutability of synthetic colors for natural colors. In terms of numbers, the induced effect is estimated to be an extra 97 patents, or roughly one fifth of the existing patents in dyeing at the time. Chapter 3 considers the determinants of violence in Sudan with a unique household dataset to characterize the degree to which victims are targeted for economic reasons. Wealthier households are found to have disproportionately worse outcomes across both physical (e.g. loss of assets) and human (e.g. personal injury) measures of the impact of the conflict. This pattern of targeting is robust, and furthermore there is evidence that violence was especially targeted at those who had lootable wealth.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Karmali, Nadeem Mahedi
|Stanford University, Department of Economics
|Mahajan, Aprajit, 1973-
|Mahajan, Aprajit, 1973-
|Statement of responsibility
|Nadeem Mahedi Karmali.
|Submitted to the Department of Economics.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2011
- © 2011 by Nadeem Mahedi Karmali
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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