Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award María José Montenegro Guerra. “Land Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Rural Peru: Insights from Item Response Theory.” MS Thesis, University of Alberta. Abstract: Women’s land rights are increasingly advocated as an empowerment tool to spur development outcomes. However, empirical evidence of this relationship is limited. In this study we use data from peasant communities in rural Peru to explore the effect of the intra-household allocation of inherited land on women’s empowerment. Empowerment is modeled as a latent variable measured by different influence indicators using a Generalized Structural Equation approach. We draw on Item Response Theory (IRT) to estimate difficulty and discrimination parameters that can inform policymakers about the impact of empowerment policies on women’s types of influences within their households. The empirical approach is consistent with empowerment’s latent and multidimensional nature and pays attention to endogeneity issues often present in other empirical studies. We find that although women’s land rights increase empowerment, the intra-household allocation of land determines the magnitude of this impact. Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award, Honorable Mention Pietro Spini. “The Effect of Carbon Taxation on U.S. Crop Farm Costs.” MS Thesis, Cornell University. Abstract: This study forecasts the impact of a carbon tax on total production expenses for corn, soybean, cotton, and wheat farms. We use farm-level cross-sectional data and regional price data to estimate the cost function and the conditional input demand functions of carbon-intensive inputs, in particular fuel and fertilizer for each farm specialization in each production region. We use a transcendental logarithmic functional form and estimate each equation of the model through Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) as well as a system using Seemingly Unrelated Regression Equations (SURE). Overall, we find that a carbon tax would have the largest impact on costs for corn farms and the lowest impact for soybean farms. For higher levels of carbon taxation, most crop farms in our study will face pressure to restructure their production. Outstanding Doctoral Dissertations Sherzod Akhundjanov. “Essays on Environmental Regulation and Applied Microeconomics.” PhD Dissertation, Washington State University. Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to advance the understanding of the impacts of environmental regulation on the exploitation of common pool resources, firm profits, and welfare, and to develop tools for the design of more efficient environmental policies. The first chapter analyzes a common pool resource located between two jurisdictions in the presence of two forms of bilateral externalities: the tragedy of the commons, and environmental pollution resulting from the depletion of the commons. I characterize an optimal cooperative and non-cooperative policy, and then identify conditions under which firms support such environmental policies. The second chapter investigates the behavior of polluting firms that openly pursue the implementation of strict environmental regulation. Through analyzing the micro-foundations underlying corporate decision making, I rationalize such behavior by relying on firm heterogeneity with respect to production costs and pollution intensities. I demonstrate that emission fees, while entailing a negative effect on firms’ profits, can also yield a positive effect on firms that experience a cost disadvantage relative to their rivals. If such a disadvantage is sufficiently large, the positive effect dominates, thus leading this firm to favor the environmental policy. The third chapter examines the size distribution and growth process of national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The analysis demonstrates that Pareto tails-lognormal distribution fits remarkably well to the entire cross-sectional distribution of CO2 emissions over different time periods. The empirical analysis also suggests that the upper-tail of CO2 emissions obey Zipf’s law, while the growth process of CO2 emissions follows Gibrat’s law. Muhammad Imran Chaudhry. “Essays on Agricultural and Financial Markets in Pakistan.” PhD Dissertation, The Ohio State University. Abstract: My dissertation comprises three interdisciplinary essays on agricultural and financial markets in Pakistan. In my first essay, I examine the loan repayment crises faced by microfinance institutions over the past decade. In particular, I use game theoretic modelling to prove that increases in competition between microfinance institutions and the amount of donor funds devoted to the microfinance sector lead to inefficiently high default rates in urban centers and financial exclusion of rural areas. In my second essay, I extend the theoretical literature on chaotic cobweb models by incorporating vertical linkages into the traditional cobweb framework. Analysis of the system of nonlinear, time-delay difference equations characterizing price dynamics in the underlying model reveal the onset of chaotic price fluctuations. Model simulations, under reasonable model calibrations, reproduce the stylized features of agricultural commodity prices, that is, quasi-periodic fluctuations, positive autocorrelation, and fat-tailed distributions. Subsequently, I employ poultry price data from Pakistan to test empirical hypotheses derived from the underlying model and find that fluctuations in actual poultry prices are consistent with the theory of endogenous price fluctuations. In my third essay, I examine the relationship between firm-specific accounting information and stock prices in the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE). I find that accounting information is an important determinant of stock prices. However, “herding” behavior has led to a gradual decline in the value relevance of accounting information over time. Furthermore, empirical estimates reveal that increases in foreign portfolio investment and an expansionary monetary policy added impetus to herding behavior in the KSE. Obie Porteous. “Essays on Agricultural Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. Abstract: Two-thirds of the labor force in sub-Saharan Africa works in agriculture, and nearly half of consumer expenditure is on food. In this dissertation, I show that the costs of trade between producers and consumers in different locations are very high, I explore the consequences of these costs, and I evaluate a trade policy used to insulate markets in particular countries from high and volatile prices elsewhere. In the first chapter, I use intra-national monthly grain price and production data to estimate and solve a dynamic model of storage and trade covering all 42 countries of continental sub-Saharan Africa. I find median trade costs over five times higher than an international benchmark. The potential welfare gains from reducing these costs are substantial, are driven by lower food prices, and can be achieved efficiently by investing in well-targeted trade corridors. In an extension, I find that the effects of agricultural technology adoption depend crucially on trade costs, with technology adoption only increasing farmer incomes when trade costs are low. In the second chapter, I estimate the effects of 13 short-term export bans on maize implemented by 5 countries in East and Southern Africa. Export bans have no statistically significant effect on price gaps between affected markets, but prices and price volatility in implementing countries are higher during bans in the data than in a model simulation without bans. Export bans in the region are imperfectly enforced, divert trade into the informal sector, and appear to destabilize domestic markets rather than stabilize them. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com
American Journal of Agricultural Economics – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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