Economics - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Assessing the Economic Viability of an LNG Terminal in Newfoundland: With Export to European Markets

Date created: 
2014-01-20
Abstract: 

In this paper I analyze the economic viability of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Newfoundland, with export to European markets. Natural gas is extracted offshore Newfoundland & Labrador and transported via pipeline to shore. The natural gas liquids (NGLs) and impurities are then separated from the pure methane. The NGLs are processed at an NGL processing plant and sold on their respective markets. The impurities are discarded and the natural gas is then liquefied and loaded onto double hulled tankers, which will transport the LNG to European markets. Capital and operating expenditures are calculated, with a 20 year production profile. Royalties are analyzed and compared using the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland royalty systems. Provincial and Federal corporate income taxes are also included in the analysis. The pipeline and LNG transport will be contracted out to outside parties. The producer will operate the production facility, as well as the LNG and NGL stations. Three reserve scenarios are analyzed (4-6 trillion cubic feet) and an internal rate of return (IRR) on the project is determined for the producer until different price scenarios, which range from $6 CDN/MMBtu to $16 CDN/MMBtu. The project is considered to be economically viable if the IRR is at least 15%, according to industry standards set by Husky Energy, operating from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Given that the price of natural gas in Europe is expected to increase to nearly $14 CDN/MMBtu in 2016, the project is deemed to be economically viable under all reserve scenarios.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Douglas Allen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Does Access to Microcredit Lead to Agricultural Productivity Gains? Evidence from Bangladesh

Date created: 
2013-08-09
Abstract: 

I analyze data from a 1991—92 field survey of rural Bangladeshi households to determine the effect of access to microcredit on agricultural productivity in rural areas. I argue that rural farmers with access to microcredit should only realize productivity gains if they are credit-constrained. I find that, relative to people who had no opportunity to join a microcredit program, access to a microcredit program does not lead to direct productivity gains for farmers of either transplanted Aman rice or a high-yield variety of Aman rice. Only access to a Grameen Bank microcredit program is associated with a lower cost of sharecropping—defined as the share kept by the landlord multiplied by the sharecropped proportion of the total land cultivated by the farmer—while access to BRAC (previously the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) and Bangladeshi Rural Development Board programs are not. Only access to a Grameen program leads to significant productivity gains when considered jointly with a reduction in sharecropping-costs. The results suggest that access to microcredit does not lead to direct improvements in agricultural productivity.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alexander Karaivanov
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Examining the Effects of External Price Shocks on the Economy of China by the Use of a Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium Model

Date created: 
2013-03-28
Abstract: 

Within the framework of a dynamic CGE model for the Chinese economy, we simulate increases in global food and energy prices and appreciation of nominal exchange rate. First, our results show that increases in global prices for agricultural products in the last decade had overall positive effects on the Chinese economy: investment growth and an improved trade balance pushed the GDP up. The consumption per capita fell below the benchmark in the short to medium run but overcame this trend in the long run. The food price increases partially explain the consumer price inflation in China and the observed accumulation of foreign asset holdings. We demonstrate that restrictive policy interventions into agricultural markets have harmed the development of China’s agricultural sector. Second, in contrast to the impact of increased food prices, higher global prices for energy commodities negatively influenced both the real economy and private incomes in China. Household consumption suffered the most significant effects of reduced GDP growth,. We also find that energy prices were largely responsible for the domestic inflation in the last decade. While the economic growth rate has slowed, the growth itself has continued: positive rates of growth have remained for all economic indicators, suggesting that China’s economy has a strong growth foundation and is equipped to meet the challenge of increased energy prices. Third, we found that the recent appreciation of the nominal exchange rate of the yuan, the Chinese national currency, has had contractionary effects on the economy and exacerbated income inequality. Nevertheless, it has appreciably helped to curb inflation and reduced external imbalances. We argue that the yuan appreciation can serve as an effective inflation control instrument that should be accompanied by proper social policies targeting income inequality. In general, China’s economy has proved strong enough to respond to global challenges. Most negative effects do not eliminate the positive growth rate but only slow it slightly. Provided proper policies, China has the potential to continue its role as a leading power in the world economy in the decades to come.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Richard Harris
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Essays in applied econometrics

Date created: 
2013-04-17
Abstract: 

This thesis includes three essays in applied econometrics. The first and third chapters focus on labor market outcomes of minority group members, while the second focuses on education. Chapter 1 deals with the relationship between sexual orientation, gender, partnership, and labor outcomes. I suggest that if there are compensating differentials and a gender gap in potential wages, an income effect can lead partnered gay men to jobs with lower wages and higher amenities than partnered straight men. The same mechanism would lead partnered lesbians to lower amenity and higher wage jobs than partnered straight women, and we would expect no differences between singles. I present results on estimated wages and new data on stressfulness of one's working environment that are largely consistent with these predictions, and then I discuss possible alternative explanations for my findings. Chapter 2 focuses on the effect of open enrollment policies on students' academic achievement. The introduction of open enrollment may improve student achievement by providing access to better schools and by increasing inter-school competition. We use measures of the local scope for school choice and competition before and after the policy change to investigate its effect on test scores. We find the policy's effect depends on the quality of public schools that are located in proximity to a student's residence. Students who are already guaranteed access to the locally top-ranked school earn lower scores under open enrollment, while those who gain access to higher-ranked schools earn higher scores. All students experience a small positive effect from increased competition. Chapter 3 explores the role of initial housing conditions on labor outcomes of new immigrants to Canada. We focus on whether immigrants arranged housing before landing. Within the framework of a dual search model, this variable can be interpreted as capturing the opportunity cost of searching for a job. We find that not pre-arranging housing is associated with temporary worse labor outcomes among unskilled immigrants. The remainder of the chapter is spent looking for evidence that these results are due to an unobserved variable driving both housing arrangements as well as labor outcomes, but no such evidence is found.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Krishna Pendakur
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Economics
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) Ph.D.

Is trade facilitation the right direction to go in building trade capacity?

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This paper uses the gravity equation of international trade to study the relationship between trade facilitation commitments and trade flows using the OECDIWTO Trade Capacity Building - Trade Facilitation Database. In the analyses of 257 donor-recipients pairs, it is found that bilateral trade facilitation commitments are positively related, while multilateral sources are negatively related to exports from recipients to donors. These negative relationships for the multilateral institutions were found by using cross-sectional studies and are significant, for all but the World Customs Organization. From the firstdifferenced estimations, changes in exports from recipients to donors covariate positively with changes in the World Customs Organization trade facilitation commitments; the estimated effect is 0.23 percent to 0.41 percent increase in exports for every 10 percent increase in the World Customs Organization trade facilitation commitments. There is no evidence that changes in other trade facilitation sources will bring significant changes to bilateral trade.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

The role of human capital in economic growth: A case study

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The Solow growth model does an unsatisfactory job in explaining income disparity across countries with rates of saving and population growth as the only determinants. An important branch of empirical macroeconomic literature examines international income differences and the trend of convergence by including human capital in the Solow growth model, and clearly establishes that human capital plays a very important role in the growth process. However, allowing for differences in the aggregate production function across countries with a panel data approach, Islam (1995) finds that human capital fails to enter significantly. This paper re-examines the role of human capital in the growth equation, applying the same approach as Islam's. A sensitivity analysis is also conducted to test the sensitivity of the results to a variety of specification alterations such as different measures of variables and different time periods.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

Computer testbed for experiments on coordination

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Experimental studies of coordination games consistently show that large groups are unable to escape the inefficient equilibrium. Weber (2005) modifies experimental design and obtains large groups that coordinate on the efficient equilibrium. This feature is incorporated into a computer testbed. After examining both individual and social learning, it is found that experimental results cannot be described with a simple learning process. A discussion on possible explanations concludes the project.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

The incentive effects of the Ontario Child Care Supplement for working families on household labour supply decisions

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This paper examines the efficacy of the Ontario Child Care Supplement for working families on the labour supply decisions of single parents with children. The empirical methodology consists of a difference-in-differences estimation strategy using Canadian Census data for 1996 and 2001. Findings show that the supplement provides labour market incentives for households on the intensive margin. That is, for households at work, findings show that substitution effects dominate income effects on weeks worked. An additional $1,000 in benefits results in an increase of approximately two to three working weeks.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

The effects of education, income, and child mortality on fertility in South Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

I analyze the effects of mothers7 education, household income, and child mortality on completed fertility in South Ahca, using the 1993 South Ahca Integrated Household Survey. I estimate an individual fertility choice model using an OLS, a 2SLS, and a Poisson model. The 2SLS model accounts for the endogeneity of education, income, and child mortality; and the Poisson model accounts for the fact that fertility is a non-negative count variable. The point estimates are different enough between the three models to suggest that fertility should be estimated with a model that accounts for both fertility being a non-negative count variable and the explanatory variables being endogenous. My results are broadly consistent with the literature on determinants of fertility rates in developing countries.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

Three essays in health economics

Author: 
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

This dissertation consists of three independent essays addressing three separate health care policy issues. Essay 1, "Incentive Effects of Government Mandated Cost-Shifting," shows how mandated cost shifting, because it does not require resources to pass through the hands of government, can be an optimal form of income redistribution in providing health care to the poor of society when government is sufficiently costly. Under this system, the government mandates the proper treatment of illness regardless of ability to pay and enforces that mandate with investigation. The paper shows that under costly information on illness the physician cheats by providing the wrong treatment when treating a rich patient who has low severity illness and a poor patient who has high severity illness. In response the government also investigates the treatment of such patients. The paper also shows the conditions under which mandated cost shifting is less wastehl and beneficial to patients. Essay 2,"The Effects of the Relationship between Quantity and Quality of Care on Quality of Care," shows that the relationship between quality and quantity in the patient's utility as well as in the cost of care play an important role in determining the ability of a payment scheme to induce efficient quality and quantity of care. The payment schemes examined are fixed fee for service, prospective payment, and cost sharing. The paper shows that neither prospective payment nor fixed fee for service can be used to induce a first-best provision of quality and quantity. Cost sharing is the only scheme that can be used to induce the efficient supply of both quantity and quality. Essay 3, "The Effect of Hospital Downsizing in British Columbia on the Quality of Care for Maternity Patients" uses maternity data from the Canadian province of British Columbia to estimate the effect of the reduction in hospital utilization rates and the transfer of care from hospitals to communities and to patients7 homes on readmission rates. The results show that the policy reduced hospital length of stay and increased readmission rates for maternity patients.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Economics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis/Dissertation (Ph.D.)