Matching Items (17)

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The Methodology of Economics: How Economists Choose Between Theories

Description

I began this thesis because I was confused about economics. I wondered why there were so many different models. I didn't understand how they fit together. I was also confused

I began this thesis because I was confused about economics. I wondered why there were so many different models. I didn't understand how they fit together. I was also confused by the assumptions being made. For instance, the assumption that humans are rational utility-maximizers did not seem to agree with my own experiences. With my director Dr. Edward Schlee's help, my thesis has become an inquiry into the state of economic methodology, both in theory and in practice. The questions that drive this paper are: How do economists choose between theories? What is the purpose of economic theory? What is the role of empirical data in assessing models? What role do assumptions play in theory evaluation, and should assumptions make sense? Part I: Methodology is the theoretical portion of the paper. I summarize the essential arguments of the two main schools of thought in economic methodology, and argue for an updated methodology. In Part II: A case study: The expected utility hypothesis, I examine methodology in practice by assessing a handful of studies that seek to test the expected utility hypothesis. Interestingly, I find that there is a different between what economists say they are doing, and what they actually seem to be doing. Throughout this paper, I restrict my analysis to microeconomic theory, simply because this is the area with which I am more familiar. I intend this paper to be a guide for my fellow students and rising economists, as well as for already practicing economists. I hope it helps the reader better understand methodology and improve her own practice.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Potential games and competition in the supply of natural resources

Description

This dissertation discusses the Cournot competition and competitions in the exploitation of common pool resources and its extension to the tragedy of the commons. I address these models by using

This dissertation discusses the Cournot competition and competitions in the exploitation of common pool resources and its extension to the tragedy of the commons. I address these models by using potential games and inquire how these models reflect the real competitions for provisions of environmental resources. The Cournot models are dependent upon how many firms there are so that the resultant Cournot-Nash equilibrium is dependent upon the number of firms in oligopoly. But many studies do not take into account how the resultant Cournot-Nash equilibrium is sensitive to the change of the number of firms. Potential games can find out the outcome when the number of firms changes in addition to providing the "traditional" Cournot-Nash equilibrium when the number of firms is fixed. Hence, I use potential games to fill the gaps that exist in the studies of competitions in oligopoly and common pool resources and extend our knowledge in these topics. In specific, one of the rational conclusions from the Cournot model is that a firm's best policy is to split into separate firms. In real life, we usually witness the other way around; i.e., several firms attempt to merge and enjoy the monopoly profit by restricting the amount of output and raising the price. I aim to solve this conundrum by using potential games. I also clarify, within the Cournot competition model, how regulatory intervention in the management of environmental pollution externalities affects the equilibrium number of polluters. In addition, the tragedy of the commons is the term widely used to describe the overexploitation of open-access common-pool resources. Open-access encourages potential resource users to continue to enter the resource up to the point where rents are exhausted. The resulting level of resource use is higher than is socially optimal, and in extreme cases can lead to the collapse of the resource and the communities that may depend on it. In this paper I use the concept of potential games to evaluate the relation between the cost of resource use and the equilibrium number of resource users in open access regimes. I find that costs of access and costs of production are sufficient to determine the equilibrium number of resource users, and that there is in fact a continuum between Cournot competition and the tragedy of the commons. I note that the various common pool resource management regimes identified in the empirical literature are associated with particular cost structures, and hence that this may be the mechanism that determines the number of resource users accessing the resource.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Essay on dynamic matching

Description

In the first chapter, I study the two-sided, dynamic matching problem that occurs in the United States (US) foster care system. In this market, foster parents and foster children can

In the first chapter, I study the two-sided, dynamic matching problem that occurs in the United States (US) foster care system. In this market, foster parents and foster children can form reversible foster matches, which may disrupt, continue in a reversible state, or transition into permanency via adoption. I first present an empirical analysis that yields four new stylized facts related to match transitions of children in foster care and their exit through adoption. Thereafter, I develop a two-sided dynamic matching model with five key features: (a) children are heterogeneous (with and without a disability), (b) children must be foster matched before being adopted, (c) children search for parents while foster matched to another parent, (d) parents receive a smaller per-period payoff when adopting than fostering (capturing the presence of a financial penalty on adoption), and (e) matches differ in their quality. I use the model to derive conditions for the stylized facts to arise in equilibrium and carry out predictions regarding match quality. The main insight is that the intrinsic disadvantage (being less preferred by foster parents) faced by children with a disability exacerbates due to the penalty. Moreover, I show that foster parents in high-quality matches (relative to foster parents in low-quality matches) might have fewer incentives to adopt.

In the second chapter, I study the Minnesota's 2015 Northstar Care Program which eliminated the adoption penalty (i.e., the decrease in fostering-based financial transfers associated with adoption) for children aged six and older, while maintaining it for children under age six. Using a differences-in-differences estimation strategy that controls for a rich set of covariates, I find that parents were responsive to the change in direct financial payments; the annual adoption rate of older foster children (aged six to eleven) increased by approximately 8 percentage points (24% at the mean) as a result of the program. I additionally find evidence of strategic adoption behavior as the adoption rate of younger children temporarily increased by 9 percentage points (23% at the mean) while the adoption rate of the oldest children (aged fifteen) temporarily decreased by 9 percentage points (65% at the mean) in the year prior to the program's implementation.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Application of transaction cost economics within the facilities and construction industry to improve project outcomes: a case study approach

Description

This thesis draws on industry experience and academic literature to highlight several problems facing the construction and facility management industries. These problems include issues with product delivery performance and financial

This thesis draws on industry experience and academic literature to highlight several problems facing the construction and facility management industries. These problems include issues with product delivery performance and financial failures that often lead firms to spend much more than anticipated, while obtaining much less of a product. Transaction-cost economics theory and literature are presented as a model for understanding, predicting, and preventing these problems. Transaction-cost economics suggests that specificity and uncertainty, two key characteristics of industry transactions, are improperly aligned with governance structures, leading to preventable failures. This thesis highlights several case studies in which these failures occur and argues that the correct application of this theory can mitigate many of these problems. A final case study illustrates how this alignment can make a difference in outcome without a compromise of quality.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Cultural Understandings and Lived Realities of Entrepreneurship in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Description

This dissertation examines cultural understandings and lived realities of entrepreneurship across South Africa’s economic landscape, comparing the experiences of Cape Town’s Black entrepreneurs in under-resourced townships to those of White

This dissertation examines cultural understandings and lived realities of entrepreneurship across South Africa’s economic landscape, comparing the experiences of Cape Town’s Black entrepreneurs in under-resourced townships to those of White entrepreneurs in the wealthy, high finance business district. Based on 13 months of participant observation and interviews with 60 entrepreneurs, I find major differences between these groups of entrepreneurs, which I explain in three independent analyses that together form this dissertation. The first analysis examines the entrepreneurial motivations of Black entrepreneurs in Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s largest township. This analysis gives insight into expressed cultural values of entrepreneurship beyond a priori neoliberal analytical frameworks. The second analysis compares the material resources that Black entrepreneurs in Khayelitsha and White entrepreneurs in downtown Cape Town require for their businesses, and the mechanisms through which they secure these resources. This analysis demonstrates how historical structures of economic inequality affect entrepreneurial strategies. The third analysis assesses the non-material obstacles and challenges that both Black entrepreneurs in Khayelitsha and White entrepreneurs in wealthy areas of downtown Cape Town face in initiating their business ventures. This analysis highlights the importance of cultural capital to entrepreneurship and explains how non-material obstacles differ for entrepreneurs in different positions of societal power. Taken together, my findings contribute to two long-established lines of anthropological scholarship on entrepreneurship: (1) the moral values and understandings of entrepreneurship, and (2) the strategies and practices of entrepreneurship. I demonstrate the need to expand anthropological understandings of entrepreneurship to better theorize diverse economies, localized understandings and values of entrepreneurship, and the relationship of entrepreneurship to notions of economic justice. Yet, through comparative analysis I also demonstrate that diverse and localized values of entrepreneurship must be considered within the context of societal power structures; such context allows scholars to assess if and how diverse entrepreneurial values have the potential to make broad-scale social and/or cultural change. As such, I argue for the importance of putting these two streams of anthropological research into conversation with one another in order to gain a more holistic understanding of the relationship between the cultural meanings and the practices of entrepreneurship.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Errors and buffers: essays in the economics of syntactic rearrangement

Description

This dissertation draws upon modern Chomskyan theory to address issues surrounding the development of a unified, minimalist account of language as a mental and biological object, both in terms of

This dissertation draws upon modern Chomskyan theory to address issues surrounding the development of a unified, minimalist account of language as a mental and biological object, both in terms of its generation and historic change. Towards that end, I investigate, apply, and advance the labeling approach to generative syntax. Labeling is a hypothetical process, operating within the confines of phase theory, which is thought to prepare constructed syntactic objects for interpretation at relevant mental interfaces. I argue a number of points applicable to both synchronic and diachronic linguistics: 1) Labeling failures happen as a matter of course during a derivation, forcing re-evaluation of labeled syntactic structures which ultimately leads to a successful derivation. 2) Labeling and its errors do not happen in real-time, but are bounded by phases. This has consequences for how researchers ought to look at notions and limitations of phasal memory. 3) Labeling not only drives an individual’s mature syntax, but has an effect on how children acquire their syntax, causing them in some cases to alter structures and create new categories. This is responsible for many cases of language change, and I support this argument by investigating data from the history of Chinese and Macedonian that are sensitive to labeling-based phenomena. 4) Research into labeling can help us speculate about the evolution of language generally. Although recursion is sometimes thought to be a defining feature of Universal Grammar, labeling in fact is a much more likely candidate in this regard.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Essays in Matching Theory

Description

In this paper, I study many-to-one matching markets in a dynamic framework with the

following features: Matching is irreversible, participants exogenously join the market

over time, each agent is restricted by a

In this paper, I study many-to-one matching markets in a dynamic framework with the

following features: Matching is irreversible, participants exogenously join the market

over time, each agent is restricted by a quota, and agents are perfectly patient. A

form of strategic behavior in such markets emerges: The side with many slots can

manipulate the subsequent matching market in their favor via earlier matchings. In

such a setting, a natural question arises: Is it possible to analyze a dynamic many-to-one

matching market as if it were either a static many-to-one or a dynamic one-to-one

market? First, I provide sufficient conditions under which the answer is yes. Second,

I show that if these conditions are not met, then the early matchings are "inferior"

to the subsequent matchings. Lastly, I extend the model to allow agents on one side

to endogenously decide when to join the market. Using this extension, I provide

a rationale for the small amount of unraveling observed in the United States (US)

medical residency matching market compared to the US college-admissions system.

Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) are designed to improve the welfare of the poor.

Group lending with joint liability is the standard contract used by these institutions.

Such a contract performs two roles: it affects the composition of the groups that form,

and determines the properties of risk-sharing among their members. Even though the

literature suggests that groups consist of members with similar characteristics, there

is evidence also of groups with heterogeneous agents. The underlying reason is that

the literature lacked the risk-sharing behavior of the agents within a group. This

paper develops a model of group lending where agents form groups, obtain capital

from the MFI, and share risks among themselves. First, I show that joint liability

introduces inefficiency for risk-averse agents. Moreover, the composition of the groups

is not always homogeneous once risk-sharing is on the table.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Essays in Mechanism Design

Description

I study split-pie bargaining problems between two agents. In chapter two, the types of both agents determine the value of outside options -- I refer to these as interdependent outside

I study split-pie bargaining problems between two agents. In chapter two, the types of both agents determine the value of outside options -- I refer to these as interdependent outside options. Since a direct mechanism stipulates outcomes as functions of agents' types, a player can update beliefs about another player’s type upon receiving a recommended outcome. I term this phenomenon as information leakage. I discuss binding arbitration, where players must stay with a recommended outcome, and non-binding arbitration, where players are not obliged to stay with an allocation. The total pie is reduced if the outcome is an outside option. With respect to efficiency, I derive a necessary and sufficient condition for first best mechanisms. These are mechanisms that assign zero probability to outside options for every report received. The condition describes balanced forces in conflict (outside options) and is the same in the cases of binding and non-binding arbitration. I also show a strong link between conflict and information: when conflict exists, information leakage occurs. Hence, non-binding arbitration may seem more restrictive than binding arbitration. To analyze why this is the case, I solve for second best mechanisms with binding arbitration and find a condition under which they can be implemented under non-binding arbitration. Thus, I show that non-binding arbitration can be as effective as binding arbitration in terms of efficiency. I also examine whether the equivalence between binding and non-binding arbitration can cease to hold, and provide analysis of why this happens. In chapter three, the bargaining problem entails no uncertainty but rather envy. Players can feel envy about the allocation of the other player. The Nash Bargaining solution is obtained in this context and some comparative statics are shown. The introduction of envy makes the more envious party a tougher negotiator.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Essays in Market Design

Description

I study the design of two different institutions to evaluate the welfare implications

of counterfactual policies. In particular, I analyze (i) the problem of assigning

students to colleges (majors) in a centralized

I study the design of two different institutions to evaluate the welfare implications

of counterfactual policies. In particular, I analyze (i) the problem of assigning

students to colleges (majors) in a centralized admission system; and (ii) an auction

where the seller can use securities to determine winner’s payment, and bidders

suffer negative externalities. In the former, I provide a novel methodology to

evaluate counterfactual policies when the admission mechanism is manipulable.

In the latter, I determine which instrument yields the highest expected revenue

from the class of instruments that combines cash and equity payments.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The economic viability of heritage festivals

Description

Many scholars agree that heritage tourism has grown in recent years. It has become a unique way for communities to diversify their economies while preserving local culture and heritage.

Many scholars agree that heritage tourism has grown in recent years. It has become a unique way for communities to diversify their economies while preserving local culture and heritage. One unique way communities are doing this is through heritage festivals. These festivals have a significant impact on local communities and are multifaceted as they do not just provide economic impact to host communities, but also positive or potentially negative social and environmental impacts.

In recent years, a more sustainable approach integrating economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts has been suggested when analyzing short term event such as festivals. It is important for event managers and scholars alike to understand these potential impacts as heritage festivals continue to evolve and prevalent part of heritage tourism.

This study aims to measure and quantify the economic, social and environmental impacts of two heritage festivals – Gold Rush Days and Bluegrass Festival, closely following Andersson and Lundberg’s 2013 study on commensurability and sustainability utilizing willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA). Both are annual heritage festivals and take place in Wickenburg, Arizona. Primary data collection methods are used to gather information regarding economic and social impacts. Paper questionnaires distributed via stratified random sample to festival attendees and town residents is the survey instrument used in the study. To determine environmental impacts, secondary data in the form of stakeholder interviews are conducted.

Findings suggest a positive economic impact to the town of Wickenburg. Visitor expenditures, retained local spending and direct, indirect, and induced impacts are presented. Social impacts show a generally positive attitude toward the festival from a resident perspective. Environmental impacts show that collaboration among town stakeholders is needed to better determine festival environmental impact as no formal measures of impact are currently being recorded. Further empirical research is needed to better determine these impacts.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015