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  • Nilsson, Anna, 1977- (författare)
  • Indirect effects of unemployment and low earnings : Crime and children's school performance
  • 2005
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This thesis consists of three self-contained essays that consider indirect effects of unemployment and low earnings on crime and children’s school performance. The first essay, Crime, unemployment and labor market programs in turbulent times (joint with Jonas Agell), investigates the effect of unemployment and participation in labor market programs, in general and among youth, on Swedish crime rates using a new panel data set for Swedish municipalities for the period 1996-2000. The exceptional variation in Swedish unemployment in the 1990s provides a remarkable (quasi-) experiment. Between 1996 and 2000 the overall unemployment rate (including those enrolled in labor market programs) decreased from 11.9 to 6.8 percent, and for those most likely to commit crimes, people under the age of 25, unemployment decreased from 21.2 to 8.7 percent. But the decrease in unemployment was far from uniform across the country, and our identification strategy is to use the exceptional variation in the improvement in labor market conditions across municipalities to isolate the relationship between unemployment and crime. We also consider whether placement in labor market programs reduce crime. Such an effect could arise for many reasons. Program participation may imply: (i) that there is less time for other activities, including crime; (ii) social interactions that prevent the participant from adopting the wrong kind of social norms; (iii) a greater ability to earn legal income in the labor market. Unlike most previous studies we identify a statistically and economically significant effect of general unemployment on the incidence of burglary, auto-theft and drug possession. Contrary to much popular wisdom, however, we could not establish a clear association between youth unemployment and the incidence of youthful crimes and there is no evidence that labor market programs – general ones and those targeted to the young – help to reduce crime.The second essay, Earnings and crime: The case of Sweden, analyzes whether low earnings has an effect on Swedish crime rates, considering the overall crime rate and specific property crime categories, using a panel of county-level data for the period 1975–2000. Various measures of the income distribution are considered, based on annual labor earnings as well as annual disposable income. The results indicate that the effect of low earnings on crime in Sweden is at best weak. We estimate a significant effect of low earnings on the number of auto thefts, but the effect is small. Low earnings seem to have no effect on the overall crime rate, the number of burglaries or the robbery rate. The results give, however, further support for an unambiguous link between unemployment and the overall crime rate as well as specific property crime categories. These findings are in contrast with results from, for example, the United States where wages are found to have a stronger impact on crime than unemployment. The differing results could, at least partly, be explained by the fact that during the period investigated, Swedish unemployment has been of a more permanent nature than U.S. unemployment, and that transitory earnings fluctuations appear to dominate the Swedish earnings distribution for young men, a part of the population committing a disproportionate share of many crimes.Finally, the third essay, Parental unemployment and children’s school performance, considers another possible indirect effect of unemployment, namely the school performance of the children of the unemployed. I use Swedish data on individual GPA from the completion of primary school at age 16 and final grades from upper secondary school for a majority of all children completing primary school in 1990 directly moving on to three years of upper secondary school, which they complete in 1993. The empirical method builds on the idea that primary school GPA can be used to control for family and individual heterogeneity. The huge variation in Swedish unemployment during the beginning of the 1990s, which can be traced to macroeconomic events, provides an ideal setting for testing the hypothesis that parental unemployment affects children’s school performance. The main results can be summarized as follows. If a mother is subjected to an unemployment spell during the period when one of her children attends upper secondary school, the school performance of the child marginally improves. This implies that, for women, the positive effect of having extra time on your hands exceeds the negative effects of the disadvantages caused by unemployment. This positive effect of having an unemployed mother seems to increase with the length of the unemployment spell. On the opposite, having a short-term unemployed father has a negative effect on a child’s school performance while the effect is insignificant for long-term paternal unemployment. The fact that a long-term unemployment spell of the father has a less clear effect could be interpreted as the shock of unemployment wearing out. One explanation for the differing results across genders could be that women in general cope better with being unemployed and hence are able to use their new extra time doing something productive, such as spending quality time with their children.
  • Wilkens, Carl, 1968- (författare)
  • Auri sacra fames : Interest Rates -- Prediction, Jumps and the Market Price of Risk
  • 2005
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This thesis consists of three essays investigating different aspects of interest rates."Prediction of Future Risk-Neutral Short-Term Interest Rate Densities: Can the Black, Derman and Toy Model Assist?" (Co-authored with David Vestin.) This essay evaluates two different approaches to inferring expectations of future interest rates from asset prices. One is based on bond data and builds on the Black, Derman and Toy model, the other is based on option prices. We compare the outcome with a specified assumed benchmark data generating process. The main conclusion is that the option based model works well, whereas the bond based model has difficulties in capturing aspects of the true distribution."Natura non facit saltum – Or Are Jumps an Inherent Feature in European Interest Rate Markets?" A jump-enhanced diffusion model for the instantaneous interest rate is estimated on the EURIBOR, LIBOR and STIBOR one-week interest rates via the characteristic function and a Fourier transform to recover the density function. This is compared with an estimated non-jump diffusion model. Both continuous-time and discrete-time versions of the model are estimated. For all three interest rate series, likelihood ratio tests favor the jump-enhanced model at a statistically significant level. This result holds for both the continuous-time and the discrete-time versions of the model."Estimating the Market Price of Risk in European Interest Rate Markets Using Spectral GMM." The market price of risk in European interest rate markets, constituted by the market price of diffusion risk and the market price of jump risk, is estimated for a jump diffusion model, using the characteristic function and the Generalized Method of Moments. Utilized data is the EURIBOR twelve-month interest rate during 1999-2003. The results are in line with earlier studies on US interest rate markets. The estimation technique appears promising in its technical simplicity, but entails practical estimation difficulties such as start-value sensitivity and lack of efficiency.
  • Brinca, Pedro Soares, 1979- (författare)
  • Essays in Quantitative Macroeconomics
  • 2013
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • In the first essay, Distortions in the Neoclassical Growth Model: A Cross Country Analysis, I show that shocks that express themselves as total factor productivity and labor income taxes are comparably more synchronized than shocks that resemble distortions to the ability of allocating resources across time and states of the world. These two shocks are also the most important to model. Lastly, I document the importance of international channels of transmission for the shocks, given that these are spatially correlated and that international trade variables, such as trade openness correlate particularly well with them. The second essay is called Monetary Business Cycle Accounting for Sweden. Given that the analysis is focused in one country, I can extend the prototype economy to include a nominal interest rate setting rule and government bonds. As in the previous essay, distortions to the labor-leisure condition and total factor productivity are the most relevant margins to be modeled, now joined by deviations from the nominal interest rate setting rule. Also, distortions do not share a structural break during the Great Recession, but they do during the 1990’s.  Researchers aiming to model Swedish business cycles must take into account the structural changes the Swedish economy went through in the 1990’s, though not so during the last recession. The third essay, Consumer Confidence and Consumption Spending: Evidence for the United States and the Euro Area, we show that, the consumer confidence index can be in certain circumstances a good predictor of consumption. In particular, out-of-sample evidence shows that the contribution of confidence in explaining consumption expenditures increases when household survey indicators feature large changes, so that confidence indicators can have some increasing predictive power during such episodes. Moreover, there is some evidence of a confidence channel in the international transmission of shocks, as U.S. confidence indices help predicting consumer sentiment in the euro area.
  • Cao, Mengyi, 1984- (författare)
  • Labor, Trade and Finance Essays in Applied Economics
  • 2017
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Essay I: Credit Constraint and College Attendance. This paper shows that housing wealth alleviate credit constraints for potential college attendees by enabling home owners to extract equity from their property and invest it in the education. Using a large US individual-level survey dataset over the 1996-2011 period, I find that one standard deviation increases of housing prices translate into approximately 72,000 more students enrolled in college each year. My results stay significant when I use proxies for aggregate housing demand shocks and for the topological elasticity of housing supply to generate variation in home equity that is assumed to be orthogonal to decision of going to college.Essay II: Income Inequality and Trade.Does trade with unskilled labor-abundant countries reduce the relative wages of U.S. unskilled labor and consequently cause increased income inequality across industries and regions? Empirical studies in the 1990s found only a modest effect. In this paper, I re-consider the question by using the income inequality measures constructed from Current Population Survey (CPS) data and analyzing the effect of rising Chinese import competition between 1993 and 2007 on US local labor markets. I find that areas which are more exposed to China imports competition have larger changes in income inequality. In my main specification, a $1,000 exogenous decadal rise in a MSA's import exposure per worker leads to a 1.5% increase in the logistic Gini. This re-distributive effect is more profound among non-college educated workers in manufacturing sectors. Essay III: Employee as Creditor: Evidence from Defined Pension Plans.In this paper, I show the role of pension plans in shaping the firms' labor market decision. By employing the loan covenants violation and consequently transferring of control rights to creditors, I examine the strategic use of pension underfunding by firms and the resultant wage cuts. I also find that the wage concession is less severe for firms from industry with bigger bargaining power. This study sheds light on how firms strategically renegotiate labor contracts to extract concessions from labor. The evidence suggests that credit contracts between debt-holders and shareholders have spillover effects on non-financial stakeholders. 
  • Cheung, Maria, 1975- (författare)
  • Education, Gender and Media : Empirical Essays in Development Economics
  • 2013
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • The first essay, Edutainment Radio, Women’s Status and Primary School Participation: Evidence from Cambodia, investigates whether exposure to education-entertainment radio leads to improved women's status and primary school participation. Results show significant behavioral effects related to women's decision-making power and investments in children's primary schooling in exposed areas. Suggestive evidence indicates that gender-related attitudes were affected as well, which is a stepping stone towards changing socially constructed gender norms. The second essay, Who Benefits from Free Education? Long-Term Evidence from a Policy Experiment in Cambodia, investigates the effects of abolishing primary school fees. One additional year of free education had no impact on poor children, but increased the educational attainment for non-poor children. Persistent local educational norms and income segregation may explain why poor students were less likely to progress and complete the higher grades. The third essay, Does Female Education Postpone Fertility? Evidence from a Policy Experiment in Cambodia, investigates the role of female education as a vehicle to postpone early childbearing. Exploiting a policy experiment with differential impact on education, the findings suggest that women who gained more education were associated with fewer births and a postponement of early fertility while no changes in early fertility were observed for unaffected women. The fourth essay, The Impact of a Food for Education Program on Schooling in Cambodia, evaluates three types of FFE interventions gradually implemented in primary schools. Results show that enrollment increased sharply in the short-run but did not lead to higher educational achievements, plausible due to a countervailing class size effect. While these interventions are cost-effective to attract children to school, adjusting school resources accordingly may be important to promote a long-term learning as well.
  • Ekström, Mathias, 1982- (författare)
  • Cues, Conformity, and Choice Architecture : Empirical Essays on Influence
  • 2013
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • This thesis consists of three papers summarized as follows. “Can Indifference Make the World Greener?” We test whether the default option can nudge people to save resources in a simple, non-dynamic, decision task with only two alternatives, and where people have been explicitly informed about the recommended course of action. In a natural field experiment we switch printers’ default option, from one-sided to two-sided printing, at a random point in time. The results confirm that roughly one third of all printing is determined by the default alternative, and a green default therefore saves resources on average about 15 percent. “Is Liking Contagious?” In this paper we set up a natural field experiment on the social networking service Facebook to study whether people are more prone to Like a status update if someone else has done so before. We distinguish between three treatments: (i) one unknown person Likes the update, (ii) three unknown persons Like the update and (iii) the most connected person Likes the update. Whereas the first condition had no effect, the latter two more than doubled the probability to press the Like button, implying that both the number of predecessors and social proximity matters. Neither limited attention, nor observational learning, is consistent with the results. Conformity is therefore the most plausible mechanism behind our finding. “Do Watching Eyes Affect Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Field Experiment” The presence of implicit observation cues, such as picture of eyes, has been shown to increase generosity in dictator games, and cooperative behavior in field settings. In this paper I test if a picture of watching eyes affects unconditional giving in a natural environment, where the recipient is a charity organization. This setting avoids: (i) experimenter demand effects, (ii) that the facial cue reminds subjects of a human counterpart, and (iii) a social multiplier effect. I find no general effect, but during days when relatively few other people visited a store the picture of eyes increased donated amount by 30 percent. This result indicates that subtle social cues can invoke reputation concerns in humans.
  • Engström, Gustav, 1977- (författare)
  • Essays on Economic Modeling of Climate Change
  • 2012
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Structural change in a two-sector model of the climate and the economy introduces issues concerning substitutability among goods in a two-sector economic growth model where emissions from fossil fuels give rise to a climate externality. Substitution is modeled using a CES-production function where the intermediate inputs differ only in their technologies and the way they are affected by the climate externality. I derive a simple formula for optimal taxes and resource allocation over time and highlight model sensitivity w.r.t the elasticity of substitution and distribution parameters.Energy Balance Climate Models and General Equilibrium Optimal Mitigation Policies  develops a one-dimensional energy balance climate model with heat diffusion and anthropogenic forcing across latitudes driven by global fossil fuel use coupled to an economic growth model. Our results suggest that if the implementation of international transfers across latitudes are not possible or costly, then optimal taxes are in general spatially non-uniform and may be lower at poorer latitudes. Energy Balance Climate Models, Damage Reservoirs and the Time Profileof Climate Change Policy explores optimal mitigation policies through the lens of a latitude dependent energy balance climate model coupled to an economic growth model. We associate the movement of an endogenous polar ice cap with the idea of a damage reservoir being a finite source of climate related damages affecting the economy. The analysis shows that the introduction of damage reservoirs  can generate multiple steady states and Skiba points.Assessing Sustainable Development in a DICE World investigates a method for assessing sustainable development under climate change in the Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy (DICE-2007 model). The analysis shows that the sustainability measure is highly sensitive to the calibration of the inter-temporal elasticity parameter and discount rate of the social welfare function.
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