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

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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): 
Senior supervisor: 
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.)

Essays on artificial stock market methods

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This dissertation proposes a two-risky-asset Artificial Stock Market Model and investigates its applications in financial markets. In the first essay, this model is applied to the stock market. Simulation results show that within some range of the parameters, the model can replicate many stylized facts of real financial data and some financial anomalies. This essay also finds that the dynamics of the model and the simulated results can be explained well by two approximation equations: the bubble pricing equation and the mean difference equation of the market share. The second essay applies the noise trader version of this model to the foreign exchange market and aims at solving the equilibria selection dilemma in the context of Kareken and Wallace (1981). The simulation results show that if agents have full memory, the average portfolio fraction will converge and the initial equilibrium that it converges to is history dependent. However under the lasting evolutionary pressure brought by the noise trader, the asymptotical outcome will be history independent. The model will converge to the neighborhood of an equilibrium with agents equally putting their savings into two currencies. If the agents do not have full memory, the foreign exchange market will show periodic crises. Before and after a market crisis, the exchange rate will converge to different stationary equilibria. A mean difference equation of the average portfolio fraction is also given to describe the dynamics of the model. The third essay aims at revealing the role played by the self-referential process inside the artificial stock models, and studying how it is related to the model performance. Three potential dangers that can make a GA learning model degenerate to a pure numerical optimization process are identified. It is also found that although the strength of the self-referential process may not change the convergence property of a GA model, it may lead to substantial differences in the model dynamics before the convergence is achieved.

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

Educational inequalities across social groups in India

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

School enrolment and educational attainment of primary and secondary school-going children in India are estimated by social group, using the India Human Development Survey, 2005. The main findings of this paper are that Muslims as a social group has by far the lowest probability of enrolment and attainment of education as measured by current enrolment and completed years of education, followed by Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. The ‘social group effect’ is smaller in magnitude for enrolment of children of primary schooling age than for secondary school-aged children; bigger in magnitude for educational attainment of female as compared to male children.

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

Visible minorities` educational choices in Canada

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Paper investigates educational choices of visible minorities in Canada, educational attainment and choices over fields of study. Using 2001 Canada Census data and multinomial logistic regression, research finds that choices over level of education and field of study significantly differ among visible minorities. The choices of visible minorities’ males and females differentiate substantially; insights into visible minorities` culture and role of education might explain those differences. Mathematics, computer and physical sciences, engineering, medicine and business are among the most likely choices of Chinese, and South Asians men visible minorities. Compared to Chinese and South Asian visible minority, Black visible minority does not display the same propensity to achieve superior educational outcomes. Paper argues that research on visible minorities` culture and values could illuminate choices over education.

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