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1.
  • 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.
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2.
  • 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.
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3.
  • Almerud, Jakob, 1984- (författare)
  • Public Policy, Household Finance and the Macroeconomy
  • 2018
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • The thesis contains four separate essays, spanning questions of the interaction between public policy, household finance and the macroeconomy. How does public policy affect macroeconomic outcomes, and the choices and welfare of households, and what are households’ optimal financial responses to changes in macroeconomic environments? Furthermore, the thesis includes a development of a method, which is helpful to answer questions like the ones stated above. The first essay, Optimal Public Policy in a Multi-Sector Economy with Asymmetric Shocks, shows how fiscal policy can complement monetary policy. It is shown that fiscal policy can be used to improve macroeconomic outcomes and make the economy more efficient. Since fiscal policy, in general, includes more instruments than monetary policy, it is possible to neutralize several frictions in the economy simultaneously. This is shown in a general equilibrium model with dynastic households, where firms face monopolistic competition, sticky prices, productivity shocks and cost-push shocks. The second essay, On the Design of Mortgage Default Legislation, asks how different types of mortgage contracts interact with different types of mortgage default policies regarding the probability of a default on home-owner’s mortgage. The different types of mortgage contracts analyzed are fixed rate annuity mortgages, adjustable rate amortized mortgages and adjustable rate non-amortized mortgages. The mortgage default policies span from non-recourse (where the mortgage lender takes all the default risk) to full recourse (where the borrower takes all the default risk). It is shown that a “borrower friendly” non-recourse policy is, as the one implemented in many parts of the United States, not necessarily borrower friendly due to its effect on the risk premium. This is investigated in a model with finitely lived households and an endogenous risk premium. The third essay, On The Empirical Relevance of Cointegration Between Stock Market Returns and Labor Income on Optimal Portfolio Choice, investigates how finitely lived households optimally choose a portfolio consisting of risk-free bonds and risky equity, and how this choice is affected by the long-run correlation between risky (cumulative) equity returns and stochastic labor income. More specifically, I investigate if the empirical cointegration (long-run correlation) between the two variables is strong enough to affect the optimal portfolio choice.  It is shown that it is not. Cointegration exists between the two variables, but the speed-of-adjustment back to the cointegration equilibrium is to slow to have a significant effect on the households’ optimal portfolios. The fourth essay, Solving Dynamic Programming Problems Using Stochastic Grids and Nearest-Neighbor Interpolation, describes a new computational method, which is used in the second and third essays. The method is developed to solve models with finitely lived households who face a complex economic environment. Post-state decision rules for the households are used together with simulated stochastic grids over the exogenous variables. By simulating the grids it is possible to reduce the number of grid points that the model is solved for, thereby making it significantly faster to solve models with many exogenous state variables. It is shown that it is possible to solve non-linear life-cycle models including at least eight state variables relatively quickly on a standard desktop computer.
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6.
  • 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.
7.
  • 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. 
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8.
  • Carlén, Björn, 1965- (författare)
  • Studies in climate change policy : theory and experiments
  • 2000
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Emission Quota Trade Among the Few: Laboratory Evidence of Joint Implementation Among Committed Countries. The purpose of the laboratory tests reported here is to identify a well-functioning design, tailored for an upcoming unique experiment using real-world relevant decision makers for carbon emission reductions trade among four countries committed to binding carbon emission limits, a form of so-called joint implementation. The design is required to promote high trade efficiency and a limited scope for arbitrage. All designs tested reached high levels of efficiency (87-99 %), which is noteworthy given the small number of traders. Attempts to adjust the design to reduce or eliminate arbitrage were successful in the final test rounds.The Role of Market Power in International Emissions Trading: A Laboratory Experiment. Several policy advisers have expressed concerns that market power will characterize international greenhouse gas emissions trading, especially since presumed large buyers or sellers, e.g., the US or Russia or, eventually, China, would be allowed to trade directly on the market. The experiment reported here mimics a case where twelve countries, one of which is a large buyer, trade carbon emissions on a double auction market and where traders have essentially full information about the underlying net demand. The findings deviate from those of the standard version of market power effects in that trade volumes are efficient and prices are for the most part competitive.Cost-effective Approaches to Attracting Low-Income Countries to International Emissions Trading: Theory and Experiments. The cost-effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol and any similar non-global climate treaty would be enhanced by attracting as many new countries as possible to international emissions trading and achieving these additions as soon as possible. This paper focuses on two forms of compensation that can be used to attract poor, risk-averse countries to participate in emissions trading. The theoretical as well as experimental evidence presented here suggests that, if poor countries are more risk averse than rich countries, partial compensation in terms of financial transfers is more cost-effective than relying solely on giving the poor countries large emission quotas as has been the case so far. In fact, the theoretical argument for cost-effectiveness indicates that significant parts of the emission quotas to new participating countries should be replaced by financial transfers. Using money for partial compensation would also reduce the risk for 'hot air' allocations and the ensuing political obstacles to cost-effectiveness that such allocations tend to create.On the Interaction Effects of Environmental Policies. Recent literature has shown that environmental policies interact with the tax system in a way that may substantially increase the social cost of environmental control, the so-called interaction effect. So far, this literature has focused on specific types of environmental problems and an interaction effect that arises on the labor market. Allowing for more than one primary factor and other types of environmental problems, other interaction effect may arise. Some of these may reduce the social cost of environmental control. This is so, for example, if inputs that harm the environment when used in one activity are harmless in others, as is the case for some location-specific externalities. In fact, the aggregate interaction effect may well be cost reducing. In addition, it is even possible that the interaction effect on the labor market is cost reducing.
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9.
  • 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.
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