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Essays in applied economics

Maurer, Stephan (2017) Essays in applied economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.8dde918u961p


This thesis consists of three papers that belong to the broad realm of Applied Economics. The first chapter studies the causal connection between trade and development, using one of the earliest massive trade expansions in prehistory: the first systematic crossing of open seas in the Mediterranean during the time of the Phoenicians. For each point on the coast, we construct the ease with which other points can be reached by crossing open water. We show that an association between better connected locations and archaeological sites emerges during the Iron Age when sailors routinely crossed open water. We corroborate these findings at the world scale. In the second chapter, we use oil discoveries in the US South between 1900 and 1940 to analyse whether male-biased demand shocks reduce women’s labour force participation. We find that oil wealth has a zero net effect on female labour force participation due to two opposing channels. Oil discoveries raise male wages, which leads to an increased marriage rate of young women and thus could have depressed female labour supply. But oil wealth also increases demand for women in services, which counterbalances the marriage effect. Our findings demonstrate that when the nontradable sector is open to women, male-biased demand shocks in the tradable sector need not reduce female labour force participation. The third chapter analyses whether the German National Socialists used economic policies to reward their voters after coming to power in 1933. Using newly-collected data on public employment from the German censuses in 1925, 1933, and 1939 and addressing the potential endogeneity of the NSDAP vote share in 1933 by way of an instrumental variables strategy based on a similar party in Imperial Germany, I find that cities with higher NSDAP vote shares experienced a relative increase in public employment: for every additional percentage point in the vote share, the number of public employment jobs increased by around 2.5%.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Stephan Ernst Maurer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Pischke, Jorn-Steffen

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