Three essays in applied economics

by Amar Shanghavi

Institution: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Year: 2015
Keywords: HB Economic Theory
Record ID: 1400146
Full text PDF: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/3089/


This thesis consists of three chapters that fall under the broad banner of applied microeconomics. The first chapter analyses the role of the 2008 amendment to the USA Lacey Act in combatting international trade in illegal timber. Comparing US timber imports over time and across countries and products, I show that the US timber imports fell after the introduction of the Lacey Act. I find the fall in timber imports is accompanied by a fall in illegal trade as measured by the difference between importer and exporter reported statistics. Finally, using the case of Indonesia, I provide suggestive evidence in favor of a reduction in deforestation as a result of the policy. The second chapter analyzes the effect of a year long rolling blackout in Colombia on mothers’ short and long run fertility behavior and socioeconomic outcomes. We use an extensive period of power rationing in Colombia throughout 1992 as a natural experiment and exploit exogenous spatial variation in the intensity of power rationing as an instrumental variable. We show that power rationing induced a “mini baby boom” nine months later. In particular, it increased the probability that a mother had a baby by five percent. Women who were exposed to the shock and had an additional child find themselves in worse socio-economic conditions more than a decade later. The third chapter documents the way in which the types of people who are admired has changed, arguing that the responses to this question tells us something about the way in which society has been evolving - the 65 years of data are probably the longest consistent series on social attitudes. We present robust correlations between admiration and trust, allowing us to provide information on trends in trust on a consistent basis back to the late 1940s, earlier than most other data sources.