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Essays in Development and Political Economics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International Economic Studies.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of three self-contained essays in economics.

Property Rights, Resources, and Wealth: Evidence from a land reform in the United States: This paper compares the effectiveness of two alternative property rights regimes to overcome the Tragedy of the Commons. One regime is to distribute access rights under public ownership, as proposed by Samuelson, the other is to sell land to generate private ownership as proposed by Coase. However, as property rights are not randomly allocated, causal evidence on the relative effectiveness of these two regimes is scarce. I exploit a spatial discontinuity generated by the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, which created 20,000 miles of plausibly exogenous boundaries that separated publicly owned rangeland from open-access rangeland. I combine these boundaries with data on the timing of private-property sales to jointly estimate the effects of public and private ownership on resource exploitation and income in a spatial regression discontinuity design. Using satellite-based vegetation data, I find that both property rights regimes increased vegetation by about 10%, relative to the open-access control. Census-block-level income data reveals that public ownership raised private household income by 13% and decreased poverty rates by 18%. To study mechanisms, I exploit variation in pre-reform police presence and panel data on farm values, and show that legal enforcement through police presence is a necessary condition for the positive and long-lasting effects of both regimes to arise.

State Repression, Exit, and Voice: Living in the Shadow of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: This paper asks whether state repression is an effective strategy for silencing dissent and changing political beliefs. We use evidence from history’s most severe episode of state-led repression, the genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, to estimate the effects of political violence on political behavior four decades later. To establish causality, we rely on the Khmer Rouge’s desire to create an agrarian society, moving forced labor to areas experiencing higher agricultural productivity. Using historic rainfall to generate exogenous variation in productivity shows that more people died in productive communes. Higher productivity under the Khmer Rouge leads to more votes in favor of the opposition over the authoritarian incumbent and increased support for democratic principles. At the same time, citizens become more cautious in their interactions with the local community as captured by lower participation in community organizations and less trust. Our results suggest that state repression makes people more convinced about the need for opposing views but more careful in expressing them, making politics less personal and more competitive.

The Effects of Migration and Ethnicity on African Economic Development: Migration between countries has been shown to have positive effects on economic outcomes such as trade by fostering economic and cultural integration. In Africa, where ethnic identification is reasonably strong, omitting ethnic links between countries likely introduces a considerable bias in the estimates. Following the literature, I use past migrant clusters as instruments to show that migration in 1990 led to more bilateral exports for neighboring countries in the period 1989-2014. To account for the ethnic heterogeneity of African countries, I generalize this approach and use pre-colonial ethnic linkages between of home- and foreign-countries as an instrument for migration. The results suggest a downward bias when not accounting for ethnic heterogeneity. I discuss potential concerns of pre-colonial ethnic linkages and find no evidence of omitted variable biases caused by similar languages, preferences, or conflict. Ethnic connections instead facilitate trade, especially for groups that are excluded from government coalitions. The results are consistent with a model of international trade where cross border connections decrease the fixed costs of exporting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2018. , p. 279
Series
Monograph series / Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Stockholm, ISSN 0346-6892 ; 96
Keywords [en]
Development Economics, Property Rights, Ethnic Partitioning, Migration, State Repression
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155122ISBN: 978-91-7797-254-9 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-255-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155122DiVA, id: diva2:1197147
Public defence
2018-06-01, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-04-12 Last updated: 2018-09-03Bibliographically approved

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Essays in Development and Political Economics(4228 kB)228 downloads
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