Economic development dissertations


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Abstract : There is a series of different types of risk on the housing market and related industries. The six papers in this doctoral dissertation are about a number of the many dimensions of risk management on the housing market. See yesterday's most popular searches here. Search and download doctoral PHD dissertations from Sweden. In English. For free. Show downloadable dissertations only. Also, when both market access and local transportation access are included in the specification, local transportation access retains a positive, precisely estimated coefficient, but market access does not.

It is also notable that when the percent of a county's area within some distance from transportation is used as a local access measure, the measures calculated using shorter distances relate more closely to increases in patenting. This suggests the impact of local transportation access on the number of patents comes through localized changes within a county.

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Using a simple count of patents, as my first chapter does, ignores their content. Not every patent represents the same contribution to the movement of the technology frontier, and some patents represent more important innovative contributions than others. I propose a novel way to study technology diffusion, investigating how transportation changes information absorption. In addition to moving goods, transportation facilitates greater communication between areas.

Both railroads and canals moved passengers, allowing for easier, faster, and shorter trips between locations. This would not be unprecedented. Economists have begun to use automated text analysis tools. Using modern patents, Nathan Goldschlag looks for evidence that patents help promote diffusion by searching future patents and scientific articles for text substantially similar to the language used in a patent. Goldschlag tested this technique on scientific articles known to be influential and found knowledge transmission, but found no evidence of technology transmission when using the same technique on modern patents.

To investigate the importance of information about new technologies in the nineteenth century, I use the text of patents as documentation of the movement of idea-use over time and space. I construct a measure of how many new words, from a list of words relating to new technologies, appear in the patent record of any given county. If in a particular county one of these words is observed one year after it is first used in a patent anywhere, then this county is measured as receiving new words at the rate of one new word a year.

In contrast to the strong relationship between local transportation access and patents per capita, increases in local transportation access seem to have no effect on the novelty of innovation a measure of quality. Increased local transportation access has no net overall effect, while increasing market access increases the speed of mentioning new technologies more for more developed places.

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The net effect of transportation network expansion is this increase of advantage of more developed places. However, the level of patent system participation increases in every location impacted by the transportation network's spread. To understand this pattern in more detail, I examine a sample of patents in newly connected counties. This examination suggests that these places patented objects related to local industry, such as machines to help with the production of cotton or grain.

Then, patents related to the railroad itself—couplers and, in the north, ways to clear snow from the tracks—started to appear. Following urbanization, newly connected places began patenting middle class consumption goods, such as medicine and furniture.

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This suggests that locally salient concerns, rather than more general problems on the technological frontier, drive patenting. Together, these two chapters suggest transportation access has a positive effect on patenting because transportation forms a nexus that encourages local agglomerations, but the overall impact of larger transportation networks on innovation is unclear.

Changes to information flows also affect the behavior of both the electorate and politicians. Chapter 3 with Steven Sprick Schuster 12 moves from patenting to focus on the how mail delivery spread new information, studying the rollout of RFD in the early twentieth century. When deciding whether to vote and for whom to vote, coordinating with other voters, and interacting with their elected officials, potential voters rely on information from candidates, media sources, and peers.

Advancements in information distribution were especially important for rural residents, whose isolation acutely concerned policymakers. Since , city dwellers enjoyed either at-home mail delivery or close proximity to post offices, while rural residents had to travel several miles to the nearest post office. These concerns led to the expansion of daily mail delivery to rural homes.

Begun on an experimental basis in , and rolled out across the country during the first decade of the twentieth century, RFD changed the flow of information to rural communities and the information networks within them. Using a newly constructed panel data set, we find results consistent with the hypothesis that an increase in information to rural voters increases their political power. Though we rule out a large effect of RFD on voter turnout in Congressional elections, we find that RFD routes increased the competitiveness of Congressional elections and increased vote share for small parties.

The results only occur in counties with local newspapers, suggesting that the main channel is a lowered cost to voters of acquiring political information. We also find that elected officials changed behavior in response to RFD allocation. The policy positions of congressional Representatives shifted toward stances associated with rural communities, which were primarily associated with Populist causes, including increased support for pro-temperance and anti-immigration policies.

My dissertation focuses on two ways expanding transportation and information networks connect rural areas to emerging national markets. Elisabeth Ruth Perlman , U.

Summaries of Doctoral Dissertations

Census Bureau. Agrawal, Ajay, and Avi Goldfarb.

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Weiman, — Stanford: Stanford University Press, Donaldson, Dave, and Richard Hornbeck. Fogel, Robert, W. Goldschlag, Nathan. Gutberlet, Theresa.


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Harris, C. Howe, Daniel W. Oxford History of the United States. Hudson, John C. Plains Country Towns. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Jaffe, Adam B. Marshall, Alfred. Principles of Economics. New York: Macmillan and Co. Perlman, Elisabeth R.

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Sokoloff, Kenneth L. Fourteen new PhDs in economic history competed for the Gerschenkron Prize this year. Many of them were born in the places that they study, and their innate understanding of local institutions and culture will push ahead the profession and improve all of our work. Picking three among these dissertations was extremely difficult, and I found myself reminded of the judges at the Crystal Palace Fair. In , industry experts, half of them British, examined exhibits from across the world and awarded prizes to what they thought were the most innovative.

Their rankings, however, were shaped by their own distinct experiences, training, and tastes—as are mine. I therefore want to take this opportunity to welcome all of the 14 amazing new economic historians that have submitted their dissertations for the Prize this year. We are fortunate to have you and personally, I very much look forward to learning more from your research. Now to the panelists. Grounded in both history and economics we establish facts, collect data, and combine them in rigorous tests to slay even the most beautiful hypotheses.

The three dissertations on this panel have done a lot of collecting facts, analyzing data, and some slaying. Here they come in certified random order, according to Ray and Robson , i. In , the Reverend Malthus described the mechanism that kept pre-industrial populations and material resources in equilibrium. For Malthus, India and China were examples of the evil consequences of early and universal marriage: persistent poverty, famines, and epidemics.

In that sense, India and China form a contrast for European exceptionalism, where decisions to delay marriage and have fewer children laid the foundations for economic growth. Ahmad's dissertation presents new archival materials to challenge this view. New district-level data on births, deaths, and local monsoon rainfall for southern India between and show that fertility and death respond to rainfall shocks. Comparisons with early modern France and England, however, show that differences were much more nuanced than the traditional view suggests.

South India was not an outlier in terms of its responsiveness to shocks, but instead was exposed to larger shocks due to its reliance on the monsoon. These findings motivate a careful demographic exercise to correct existing estimates of vital rates over time and across space. Here, Ahmad accounts for under-counted population flows in the form of births and deaths by age with population stocks at the decadal census. By this process, Ahmad has created new annual district-level panel data for birth rates and age-specific mortality rates for more than districts in the five largest provinces of British India.

These data cover a staggering million people between and Ahmad also documents a dramatic response to the arrival of the railroad in India: Mortality fell steeply and became less responsive to extreme monsoon shocks, and fertility rose slightly. In the long-run, districts with railroads became 6 percent more densely populated. A final chapter introduces new data on fortnightly commodity prices during the s. These data show that grain markets in British India transmitted prices much like those in eighteenth-century France, again calling into question European exceptionalism.

This is an impressive thesis, and if I had to push harder it would be on the links between demography and economic development. In its current state, Ahmad's work is very heavy on demography, probably because he rightly wants the rest of us to think more carefully about the dynamics of population growth, and push us to incorporate analytic tools of demography in our work.

For example, Ahmad tells us that colonial India was in many ways comparable to European countries at a similar stage of development. This begs the question why India did not undergo its own demographic transition under colonial rule, and why living standards continued to stagnate.