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Essays on the importance of access to information in developing countries

Mitchell, Tara (2012) Essays on the importance of access to information in developing countries. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The aim of my thesis is to investigate the importance of access to information for individuals in developing countries. In the first chapter, I describe an important channel through which improved access to market information could increase the prices that producers receive from middlemen. I develop a theoretical model of trade between a farmer and a middleman which allows for the existence of different types of middlemen and I provide an empirical test of the theory from an original framed field experiment carried out with farmers and middlemen in India. In chapter 2, I investigate the relationship between the decision to produce high-quality goods and two important characteristics of the product: the degree of observability of quality and the level of intermediation in the supply chain. I present a model which demonstrates that if quality is not perfectly observable, there will be a range of values of the price difference between high-quality and low-quality goods for which production of high-quality goods will occur with vertical integration but will not occur if the stages of production are carried out by separate agents. This chapter also presents some case studies of supply chains for various products in a number of developing countries that have characteristics which are consistent with the predictions of the model. In the final chapter, I try to understand how access to information could be improved for individuals in developing countries. I investigate the relationship between rates of mobile phone and Internet use and a number of geographic, institutional and economic variables in a sample of 164 countries from 1990 to 2009. The aim of this chapter is to identify the main characteristics of countries that have had success in adopting these new technologies in order to gain some insight into the barriers which may be faced by those countries that have been less successful.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Tara Mitchell
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Besley, Timothy and Fischer, Gregory
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/520

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