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Essays in macroeconomics

Siegel, Christian (2012) Essays in macroeconomics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis provides three essays in macroeconomics. The first chapter analyzes trends in fertility and time allocation. Falling fertility rates have often been linked to rising female wages. However, over the last 30 years the US total fertility rate has been stable while female wages have continued to grow. Over the same period, women's hours spent on housework have declined, but men's have increased. A model with a shrinking gender wage gap is proposed capturing these trends. While rising relative wages increase women's labour supply, they also lead to a reallocation of home production from women to men, and a higher use of labour-saving inputs. Both are important in understanding why fertility did not decline further. The second chapter presents a life-cycle model with heterogeneous households and incomplete financial markets to study the implications of a reform that eliminates capital taxation. In the economy individuals differ in terms of their gender and marital status, and decision making within the couple is modelled as a contract under limited commitment. When capital taxes are set to zero, there is a strong increase in wealth accumulation that originates in dual earner households. Moreover, the policy change has important implications for the division of resources within the family and for households' insurance possibilities. The third chapter is motivated by the dramatic reshuffling in relative positions between East Asian and Latin American economies. It studies the dynamic response of a two- sector, manufacturing and agriculture, economy in the presence of import tariffs and export subsidies on manufacturing goods, similar to those that characterized government policy in these countries. It is shown that the response to these policies depends on the level of productivity in the agricultural sector. Quantitative work, however, finds that differences in agricultural productivities themselves are key in explaining the differential growth experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Christian Siegel
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Caselli, Francesco

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