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Essays in macro and development economics

Nigmatulina, Dzhamilya (2021) Essays in macro and development economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004273


This thesis studies the economics of firms, neighbourhoods, cities and regions in developing countries. It combines empirical and structural methods using satellite, administrative and survey data to study allocative efficiency, the economics of cities and urban planning in developing countries. The thesis is organised into four independent chapters. The first chapter studies the extent of misallocation among firms in Russia, and the role of state ownership in affecting allocative efficiency. I find that there are large wedges between state-owned and private firms reducing the aggregate TFP by at least 11%. Using a unique natural experiment of staggered firm-level US sanctions I find one channel through which resources become misallocated: the state-owned enterprises are shielded excessively from negative economic shocks. I find that allocative efficiency worsened after the sanctions episode and the Russian TFP dropped at least by 0.33% overall, reaching -3% in some sectors as a combined effect of sanctions and shielding. The second chapter explores new data methods and GIS tools for use in urban and spatial economics. It discusses the strengths and challenges in the application of novel datasets, such as satellite imagery, gridded population and develops methods that effectively apply these datasets to economic research questions. The third chapter (co-authored) explores the long-run consequences of planning and providing basic infrastructure in neighbourhoods, where people build their own homes. Using satellite images and surveys from the 2010s, we find that de novo planning induces neighbourhoods to develop better housing, with larger footprint areas, more stories, more connections to electricity and water, basic sanitation and access to roads. This effect remains even after accounting for selection of financially unconstrained owners into planned areas. The fourth chapter (co-authored) estimates urban agglomeration effects, exploring both simple and very nuanced measures of economic density to explain household income and wage differences across cities in six Sub-Saharan African countries. Defining cities consistently, we find large wage gains to being in denser cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, which are generally larger than such estimates for other parts of the world. We also find extraordinary household income gains to density that are far greater than wage ones. Such gains are consistent with the pull forces driving rapid urbanization in the region.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Dzhamilya Nigmatulina
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Henderson, J. Vernon

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