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Essays in urban economics and international trade

Boeri, Filippo (2019) Essays in urban economics and international trade. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004177


This thesis consists of four independent chapters on urban economics and international trade. The first chapter analyses the effect of an improvement of information and communication technologies (ICT) on student performance. By exploiting a vast infrastructural program implemented in Italy, I study how the availability of high-internet speed affects student educational outcomes. On average, I find a positive effect on student performance in numeracy subjects. However, the policy outcome significantly depends on individual socio-economic backgrounds, with disadvantaged students mostly excluded from the benefits. As a result, the program increased the dispersion of student outcomes. The second chapter (co-authored) analyses a security policy aimed at tackling criminal organisations. The policy, consisting in the confiscation of mafia assets, is meant to eradicate the pervasive presence of the mafia organisations on the Italian territory and harm their business model and earnings. We investigate to what extent this policy is able to regenerate deprived areas by assessing its impact on the value of buildings located in the nearby of confiscated/re-allocated properties. Results show a positive effect of confiscation on housing prices, with the largest gains concentrated in the most deprived areas and where mafia organisations are more deeply rooted. Third and fourth chapter investigate between and within-industry differences in the spatial distribution of economic activities. The third chapter consists in a cross-country analysis of the economic geography of manufacturing and service plants. I compute continuous agglomeration and co-agglomeration indices using two comprehensive datasets, that cover the whole population of British and French establishments. The estimates are used to analyse in a common framework between- and with-industry variation in agglomeration patterns. The empirical strategy makes it possible to test some of the main predictions suggested by the literature. The fourth chapter, focussing on France only, investigates to what extent exogenous trade shocks are able to reshape the spatial distribution of manufacturing activities. Results unveil a positive effect of import penetration from emerging economies on firm spatial agglomeration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Filippo Boeri
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Silva, Olmo and Gibbons, Stephen

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