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Essays in development and urban economics

Provenzano, Sandro (2022) Essays in development and urban economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004452


This thesis studies how local economic, environmental and political conditions impact local prosperity of communities and individuals. Within the first block, three chapters focus on how the interplay between local geographical, institutional and political economy mechanisms shape development outcomes. In the second block, two chapters examine how urban and environmental conditions impact the outbreak of respiratory infectious diseases. In more detail, the first essay examines the economic consequences of mineral mining on local communities in Africa by analyzing changes in satellite images. While mining boosts the local economy in democracies, gains in autocracies are meagre and come at the expense of increases in localized conflict. Furthermore, mining does not automatically lead to selfsustained growth after the closure of mine sites. The second essay studies how isolation from the national capital city impacts economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa. I show that remote areas are less economically developed due to information frictions that reduce the incentives of state executives to invest into isolated areas. The third essay adds to this topic by documenting that proximity to the regional capital city has a similar economic effect as national capital cities. The fourth essay revisits the debate about the role of population density for the spread of Covid-19 in the United States. While denser counties are hit earlier during the pandemic, overall they do not get hit harder. The fifth and final essay studies how exposure to air pollution is associated with the propagation of respiratory infectious diseases such as influenza and Covid-19 in the United States. The study finds no evidence that air pollution affects case numbers of respiratory infectious diseases in the short-run. The overriding contribution of this thesis is to provide detailed insights on the relevance and mechanisms through which local geographical, environmental and political frameworks impact economic and development outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Sandro Provenzano
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Silva, Olmo and Carozzi, Felipe

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