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DeLong, Tyler BenjaminEucharistic Unity, Fragmented Body: Christian Social Practice and the Market Economy
Master of Arts (M.A.), University of Dayton, 2015, Theology
The following is an interpretive synopsis of Henri de Lubac and Karl Polanyi's particular thought about how human sociality is organized around the formal influence of theological and economic structures, giving shape to the practice of everyday life. For De Lubac, social fragmentation and unity are central theological categories for understanding both the first instance of sin and the unfolding of salvation in history. God is at work in the world as an active agent in the reparation of discordant humanity, restoring humankind to its original state as one collective body in the Church. Karl Polanyi's analysis of the rise of market economics gives us a historical instance of social and ecological fracture, providing the possibility of relating de Lubac's theological argument in a particular historical context. Two competing logics of social formation emerge: 1.) the Eucharist implicates human sociality toward deep forms of community in the Church; and 2.) the mechanism of the self-regulating market actively dissolves these thick forms of community, organizing sociality around capital markets and production. Placing de Lubac and Polanyi in conversation provides a way of thinking theologically about the history of unity and break in an increasingly dispersed social era.

Committee:

Vincent J. Miller, Ph.D. (Advisor); Kelly Johnson, Ph.D. (Committee Member); William Portier, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agriculture; Economic History; Economic Theory; Economics; Environmental Economics; Environmental Justice; Ethics; Home Economics; Labor Economics; Religion; Religious History; Social Structure; Sociology; Theology

Keywords:

Eucharist; Henri de Lubac; Karl Polanyi; Catholic Church; Ecclesiology; Capitalism; Free Market; Economics; Thomas Aquinas; Agrarianism; Ecology; Creation; Sociality; Christian Social Practice; Community; Distributism; Unity

Mulangu, Francis MuambaClimate, Water, and Carbon: Three Essays in Environmental and Development Economics
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2011, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
This dissertation is composed of three essays. The first essay seeks to estimate the impact of climate change on household’s welfare on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Unlike previous studies, the approach used in this essay limits the bias from unobservables by applying the analysis in a relatively small geographical area composed of homogeneous farmers with similar cultures, agricultural systems, and market influence. However, these farmers inhabit places that have relatively large differences in rainfall. The data for the analysis were gathered from a random sample of over 200 households in 15 villages and observation posts to measure the precipitation from rainfall were placed in each of the surveyed villages. The results indicate that Mt. Kilimanjaro’s agriculture is vulnerable to precipitation variation, especially November precipitations. Farm vulnerability is heterogeneous across space, crops, and monthly precipitation. The study finds some evidence about the ability of irrigation usage to reduce crop vulnerability to precipitation change. With regards to household’s welfare, we simulated crop revenue response to a median of seven Global Climate Models (GCMs), and found evidence that climate change will negatively affect household’s welfare on Mt. Kilimanjaro. The second essay analyzes the potential benefits of introducing improved irrigation schemes on Mt. Kilimanjaro to help rain-dependent farmers cope with the risks of climate change. The study uses the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) to elicit farmers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for eliminating the risks of crop loss by accessing improved irrigation schemes. The study makes important contributions to both policies in Africa and the applied welfare literature. The policy contribution consists of valuation of improved irrigation in the presence of climate change risks. The applied welfare contribution consists of empirical evidence about the impact of farmers’ risk beliefs, and self-protective actions on welfare valuation. The study finds that farmers’ expected increase in revenues associated with the improved irrigation scheme will equal the cost of building it within 8 to 10 years. The purpose of the third essay is twofold. First, the essay seeks to determine the potential for soil carbon sequestration on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Second, the essay aims at estimating the marginal cost of sequestering soil carbon on Mt. Kilimanjaro. To answer these questions, the essay develops a Markov decision model that maximizes the net present value (NPV) of farm profit by allowing the farmer to choose optimal farm management subject to crop yield, soil carbon stock, and exogenous carbon price. The essay concludes that there is potential for economically viable carbon sequestration contracts on Mt. Kilimanjaro. At $20 per metric ton of carbon or $8.62 per hectare, 0.085 million metric tons of carbon could be sequestered per year because farmers would find it optimal to practice no-tillage cultivation of grains and retain some crop residues.

Committee:

David Kraybill, PhD (Committee Chair); Mario Miranda, PhD (Committee Member); Brent Sohngen, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Climate Change; Economics; Environmental Economics

Keywords:

Climate Change; Water; Carbon; Mt. Kilimanjaro

Wrenn, Douglas HarveyThree Essays on Residential Land Development
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2012, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics

For many decades, the relationship between urban and rural places was well understood. Beginning in the early 20th century, however, this distinct dichotomy broke down as large numbers of businesses and people migrated out of the central city. As a result of this expansion of the urban center and the growth in suburban and exurban development, many urban fringe areas in the U.S. have become characterized by low-density and fragmented development. As a result of these changing land use patterns and the potential for both positive and negative outcomes, researchers and policymakers have become interested in understanding both the demand-side and supply-side incentive mechanisms that have led to this type of fragmented development. The objective of this research is to fill several gaps in the empirical literature on residential land conversion and land use policy by using unique micro-level data on historical subdivision development, land conversion, the platting and subdivision approval process, house prices and policy changes.

In our first essay, we build on the growing literature that looks at the effect of regulation on housing supply decisions and focus specifically on the question of whether the expected time to completion affects both the decision to develop as well as the quantity of lots chosen by the individual landowners. Using a unique micro dataset on the timing of subdivision approvals by a local planning agency and a sample selection Poisson model, we test the effects of implicit costs that arise from uncertain subdivision approval on the timing, quantity and pattern of residential subdivision development. Consistent with theory, we find that these regulation-induced implicit costs reduce the probability and size of subdivision development on any given parcel. Our results contribute to the growing supply-side literature on housing and land use, and provide a new explanation of scattered residential development as the outcome of heterogeneous regulatory costs and optimal land development.

In our second essay, we compare two competing hypotheses of exurban land development. Previous research has shown that local land use spillovers can impact land use outcomes and patterns. In this paper, we simultaneously test this hypothesis and our regulation hypothesis by combining both hypotheses into the same sample selection Poisson model to determine the power of each factor in explaining the timing and intensity decisions of subdivision developers. Our results show that, while many of the land use variables are significant, the impact of regulatory uncertainty is larger and that it provides a better explanation of the timing and intensity decisions of developers.

In our last essay, we develop a nonparametric estimation technique for spatial panel data. Using a Monte Carlo experiment, we show how extending current geographically weighted regression (GWR) models to account for temporal heterogeneity provides a better fit to the data when coefficient heterogeneity exists in both the spatial and temporal dimensions. We also show how the technique can be used in modeling real-world land use change by applying the proposed technique to a panel dataset of historical subdivision development.

Committee:

Elena Irwin, PhD (Advisor); Mark Partridge, PhD (Committee Member); Abdoul Sam, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Environmental Economics; Public Policy; Urban Planning

Keywords:

uncertainty; land conversion; land use policy; spatial analysis; real options; sample selection; spatial spillovers; nonparametric modeling

Wishart, HannahThe Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Food Security and SNAP Benefits
Bachelor of Science (BS), Ohio University, 2017, Economics
The following thesis is divided into two chapters analyzing the impact of natural disasters at the US county level. The first chapter investigates whether natural disasters are a random treatment. By the choice of methodology used, previous research has made the assumption that natural disasters are a random treatment. The results from this analysis suggest that natural disasters are not random. The second chapter utilizes the results of the first chapter to inform the analysis of the impact of natural disasters on food security. The goal of the second chapter is to analyze the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita on the number of SNAP users post natural disasters. A first difference model was built to test how the change in vulnerable population, coupled with property damages from the hurricanes, impacts the change of SNAP users from 2004 to 2006. The results of the regressions in this paper demonstrate a strong relationship between vulnerable populations suffering from natural disasters being pushed into needing to receive SNAP benefits in order to have adequate food access.

Committee:

Tia McDonald (Advisor)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Environmental Economics

Keywords:

natural disasters; natural hazards; SNAP benefits; food security; economics; hurricanes; Hurricane Katrina; Hurricane Rita

Baron, AneilThree Essays on the Applications of Housing Transactions
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2016, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
What information is captured in home prices? Clearly prices should reflect characteristics such as square footage, build quality, and the number of bedrooms. Economists also believe that house prices reflect local characteristics, such as school and air quality, presence of open space, and crime rates. Traditionally, researchers employ hedonic models, where the marginal willingness to pay of these characteristics is obtained by running a linear regression of housing and neighborhood characteristics on the log of house price. These models have been used to study the value of a myriad of topics, from pollution and crime rates, to views of windmills and presence of nearby methamphetamine labs. As with many methods of analysis, hedonic models are subject to numerous assumptions and caveats, many of which are often ignored.This dissertation explores several complexities of and proposes new means of employing house prices in economic analysis. The first chapter asks a question that has received little study: why do buyers pay different prices for the same house? In most studies utilizing house transactions, the researcher does not know who the buyers and sellers are, and thus implicitly assumes that specific types of individuals have no effect on home prices. The chapter measures the effect of experience: the relative number of transactions the buyer and seller have taken part in over a given period of time. First, I develop a two-sided real estate search model that incorporates information costs, search costs, and Nash bargaining power. I test the implications of this model using repeat-sales housing data on 113,272 transactions from 1998-2006 in two large metropolitan regions of Ohio. The main results show that more experienced buyers purchase properties at a discount, experienced sellers sell at a premium, and that the magnitude of these differences varies depending on the relative and absolute levels of buyer and seller experience and geographic location. On average, being more experienced than the other party leads to a 4% better price, although it appears that experience is more important to buyers than sellers. The results are found to be robust to different specifications, including varying the time interval and geographic area of study. The second chapter proposes an entirely new means of utilizing housing characteristics. Rather than measuring how house characteristics impact prices, I use these characteristics and prices as a proxy for unobserved demographic characteristics of thousands of families to answer an important yet unanswered question in urban economics: Do people mitigate their commuting costs by selecting a more fuel efficient or larger, more comfortable vehicle, and what are the implications for the monocentric city model? In this paper I empirically test for evidence of vehicle choice due to distance to the central business district or commuting time. Utilizing a unique data set of every registered vehicle in Franklin County, Ohio, I match vehicles with parcel sales transactions of single family homes to obtain a proxy for demographic characteristics. Utilizing nearest neighbor matching, I find that otherwise identical individuals with longer commutes select less fuel efficient, larger vehicles, in the order of 05.-5% change to fuel economy and vehicle size. Much of this difference is due to selection of vehicle class. I also investigate the probability of selecting different vehicle classes by employing multinomial logit and probit models, and find that both distance and demographics effect the selection between different types of vehicles. I also observe how distance and demographic characteristics are associated with the fuel efficiency or size within a particular vehicle class. I conclude that discomfort and disutility of commuting outweigh gasoline costs, and consider the implications for urban spatial structure. The final chapter employs home prices in a more traditional setting, namely the study of an environmental characteristic. The goal is to observe whether and how harmful algal blooms are capitalized in home prices in several Ohio counties along Lake Erie. Harmful algal blooms have increased in severity and frequency, reducing the amenity value of the lake, posing health risks, and even threatening the drinking water supply. The main contribution is the use of satellite readings of chlorophyll-a to measure the level of algae, and the use of a repeat sales model to address the problems of omitted variable bias due to unobserved emitter sites. I find that a reduction of 1µg/L of chlorophyll-a yields a 2-6% increase in home prices, though the effect decays rapidly by distance and depends on the current level of algae. Secchi disk depth, while previous found to be significant in the literature, is statistically insignificant when utilizing repeat sales, and I find noticeable evidence of omitted variable bias when not controlling for emitter effects.

Committee:

Elena Irwin (Advisor); Mark Partridge (Committee Member); Allen Klaiber (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Environmental Economics

Keywords:

Real Estate Economics; Hedonic; Repeat Sales; Fuel Economy; Monocentric City; Lake Erie; Harmful Algal Bloom

Konar, AvishekThe Importance of Non-Pecuniary Factors and Heterogeneity of Farmers in Tillage Choices
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2015, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Phosphorus loadings from agricultural fields is of particular concern in freshwater systems because it causes eutrophication leading to algal blooms and hypoxia or anoxia, a state of low dissolved oxygen in water, causing deaths to aquatic animals and releasing various forms of phosphorus resulting in further eutrophication. Farmers' land management practices, including the timing, rate and placement of fertilizers, crop rotation and tillage choices have large impacts on the amount of nonpoint source pollution that is generated within a watershed. The environmental impacts from agricultural nonpoint source runoff have become a significant issue in Lake Erie due to phosphorus concentrations and subsequent large algal blooms. Thus it is extremely important for us to understand how farmers make best management practice decisions. This dissertation investigates the role of farmer decision making, particularly tillage choices, and investigates primarily the following factors: (a) farmers are motivated by factors other than profit, i.e. the role of non-pecuniary factors, (b) farmers are heterogeneous in their preferences, and (c) one important non-pecuniary factor that contributes towards heterogeneity of farmer choices is that of peer effects. This study consists of two separate investigations on the same data set. Following chapters 1, 2 and 3, in which I introduce the topic, provide a literature review and describe the data respectively, chapters 4 and 5 provide the analysis of a joint crop-farm management decision. In chapter 4, I investigate the heterogeneity of farmer preferences using a latent class model, and in chapter 5 I investigate the role of peer effects using a Brock and Durlauf (2002) framework. More specifically, in chapter 4, I investigate an aspect of farmer decision making, that has thus far not been considered in detail: the extent to which farmers may be heterogeneous not only in their attitudes towards risk and other classic economic determinants of choices, but also in their preferences for environmental quality and stewardship and how this affects their land management choices. Using survey data on farmers and their farm management practices from a northwest region of Ohio, I model the individual heterogeneity of farmers’ preferences for crop choice and farm management practices that influence environmental quality. The hypothesis is that heterogeneity among farmers in their environmental beliefs and preferences significantly influences farm management choices. The discrete choice model posits a joint crop-farm management decision in which farmers make a profit-maximizing decision regarding crop type and conditional on crop choice, choose the management practice that maximizes their utility. Unlike crop choice, which is hypothesized, to depend solely on expected profits, we contend that management choices are influenced not only by costs, but also by heterogeneous preferences for environmental quality. The heterogeneity of individuals is modeled using a latent class model, which posits a finite number of unobserved (to the econometrician) classes. Marginal utility parameters are constant within a class but vary across classes. The results indicate that there are two classes of farmers in the sample: one environmentally more conscious (72%) than the other (28%). Farmers in the environmentally more conscious group leave higher residue on the land; assign more relative weight to environment; are more aware of general environmental issues; are younger and less educated. Profit is not an important driver of class, and each class weight profit similarly, while awareness about environmental issues is an important driver of class. Crop, livestock and farm size are important predictors of tillage choice. Chapter 5 investigates the role of peer effects on tillage choices of farmers. Current research on farmers' decision making processes focuses on pecuniary variables like profitability of adopted practices while ignoring farmer heterogeneity and the role non-pecuniary factors like those of social interactions. Chapter 5 contends that there is an underlying farmer preference structure which is influenced by neighborhood level variables and peer effects. This paper finds a strong impact of peer effects using a Brock and Durlauf (2002) framework. The presence of heterogeneity of farmer decision making is tested by employing latent class analysis which indicates that there are two different classes of farmers. Peer effects determine the class to which a farmer belongs, and contingent on class membership farmers make tillage choices. Farmers in class one are more responsive to choices made by their peers and are more likely to use reduced tillage practices that involve less disruption of the soil, while farmers in class two are less responsive to choices made by their peers and more likely to use conventional tillage practices. The upshot of the results from this paper is that it is useful for policymakers to take into account the effect of non-pecuniary variables, like peer effects and awareness of environmental issues, to design more effective policy prescriptions. The focus of the dissertation is to understand the role of non-pecuniary factors on farmer decision making about land management. The results indicate the presence of heterogeneity of farmer preferences. Despite farmer heterogeneity in terms of their choices, and demographics like age, and education, individual farmers respond similarly to pecuniary factors, like profitability. Individual farmers concern for environmental stewardship is a basis on which a farmer belongs to a class of environmentally more conscious class, and makes farmers more likely to choose tillage practices which are more suited for soil conservation. Moreover, farmers respond to non-pecuniary factors like what their peers are choosing. Greater knowledge of the mechanism of how non-pecuniary factors impact farmer decision making will render policy prescriptions more efficacious, than without the knowledge of the impact of non-pecuniary factors.

Committee:

Elena Irwin (Advisor); Brian Roe (Committee Member); Eugene Jones (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Environmental Economics

Schnapp, Allison M.Estimating the Opportunity Cost of Time to Calculate the Willingness to Pay for Wetland Restoration at Maumee Bay State Park
Master of Arts, University of Toledo, 2011, Economics

Two costs are associated with visiting a recreational site: the opportunity cost of time and the travel cost. This research examines the robustness of various estimates of the opportunity cost of time in order to more accurately estimate the willingness to pay for wetland restoration at Maumee Bay State Park. Samples are drawn from the Northwest Ohio Wetland Survey, which was conducted in 2008. Because employment classification reveals information about the individual's opportunity cost of time, respondents were split into subgroups based on their employment classification. An individual can be out of the labor market, work a fixed schedule and be underemployed, work a fixed schedule and be overemployed, or an individual can be free to choose their work hours. I also allow for the possibility that an individual working a fixed schedule is content working their current hours.

Models using different discount rates, k, were used to estimate the sensitivity of the willingness to pay estimate to various measures of the opportunity cost of time. Using estimates from a bivariate Poisson lognormal model, the willingness to pay estimates varied significantly, from $14.91 per person per year when k=0 to $56.42 per person per year when k=1, depending on the opportunity cost of time. Allowing k to vary by employment subgroup leads to a willingness to pay estimate of $26.40, which was similar to the estimate calculated when k was 1/3.

Committee:

Kevin Egan, Ph.D (Committee Chair); Olugbenga Ajilore, Ph.D (Committee Member); Kristen Keith, Ph.D (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Economics; Environmental Economics; Labor Economics

Keywords:

willingness to pay; travel cost model; opportunity cost of time; wetland restoration

Haile, YohannesSustainable Value And Eco-Communal Management: Systemic Measures For The Outcome Of Renewable Energy Businesses In Developing, Emerging, And Developed Economies
Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, 2016, Management
The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast of 2014 indicates a 37% energy demand increase in the next 25 years. To meet the forecasted energy demand increase and ameliorate ecological stress associated with meeting the demand, the increased deployment and effective operations of renewable energy projects and businesses are of paramount importance. This study sought to understand the factors impacting renewable energy businesses and identifies an integrative measure for the performance of these businesses in the context of developing, emerging, and developed economies. Our research data have revealed that the performance of renewable energy (RE) systems cannot be viewed or determined in isolation (contextual reduction) from the social system of the host community. Hence, the best way to understand its implications is using integrative approaches. Our research suggests well-developed and deployed eco-communal management practices, a type of innovative management, is the best way to create value proposition of RE businesses/projects into sustainable value. For developed economies the primary value path is from knowledge creation => eco-communal management => sustainable value, whereas, it is from connectedness => eco-communal management => sustainable value for emerging economies. In the context of emerging economies, the impact of knowledge creation on sustainable value is primarily indirect through hastening and affecting transformational changes, hence deploying effective transition engagements and instituting accurate methods to measure the efficacy of knowledge creation are imperative. In the context of developing economies knowledge creation and integrated vision frame the outcome of the RE business or project mediated by both eco-communal management and market creation. Our research further suggests the level of managerial authority bifurcates the translation of strategic objectives of businesses, and the relatedness of the key decision maker into sustainable value through its strategic management practices in emerging economies, while it does not have significance in developed economies. Our research makes theoretical, and practical contribution to the theory of innovation by discovering a novel type of management strategy, which is effective and instrumental in creating sustainable value from the initial conditions of integrated vision, knowledge creation, and connectedness.

Committee:

Roger Saillant, PhD (Committee Chair); Kathleen Buse, PhD (Committee Member); James Gaskin, PhD (Committee Member); Christopher Laszlo, PhD (Committee Member); Hokey Min, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Alternative Energy; Area Planning and Development; Asian Studies; Atmosphere; Behavioral Psychology; Behavioral Sciences; Business Administration; Business Education; Climate Change; Cognitive Psychology; Communication; Comparative; Conservation; Demographics; Design; Ecology; Economic History; Economic Theory; Economics; Education; Electrical Engineering; Energy; Engineering; Entrepreneurship; Environmental Economics; Environmental Education; Environmental Engineering; Environmental Health; Environmental Justice; Environmental Management; Environmental Philosophy; Environmental Science; Environmental Studies; European Studies; Experiments; Finance; Geography; Health; Health Sciences; Higher Education; History; Hydrologic Sciences; Information Science; Information Systems; Information Technology; International Relations; Labor Economics; Labor Relations; Latin American Studies; Management; Marketing; Mass Communications; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Meteorology; Natural Resource Management; Occupational Psychology; Organizational Behavior; Personal Relationships; Personality; Political Science; Public Policy; Regional Studies; Religion; Social Structure; Spirituality; Statistics; Sub Saharan Africa Studies; Sustainability; Systematic; Systems Design; Systems Science; Technology

Keywords:

Performance, nested complexity, connectedness, eco-communal management, transition engagement, technology and business model innovations, entrepreneurship, and sustainable value

Farren, Michael DiltzBridging the Gap in the New Minimum Wage Research
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2017, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
The launch of the “New Minimum Wage Research” in the early 1990s by David Card, Alan Krueger, Lawrence Katz, David Neumark, and William Wascher—and the associated divergent empirical results—upended the standing consensus among economists that the minimum wage reduced employment of low-skill workers. I attempt to bridge the resulting gap in the empirical research. Rather than investigating what the effect is, I instead endeavor to understand why the various studies have found such differing results. I focus on clearly theorizing and articulating what the demand for low-skill labor should look like and from this develop a methodology to estimate it. By doing this, I address the core of the controversy, rather than offer yet another estimate of the employment effect of the minimum wage. My dissertation investigates three main theses that surprisingly, given the amount of previous minimum wage research, remain mostly unexplored. 1) First, I investigate whether the methodology used by previous research itself is responsible for the divergence in results. Nearly all minimum wage research uses a log-log econometric model. I provide theoretical arguments that the demand for low-skill labor should have the exact opposite curvature than that imposed on it by the log-log model. The log-log model also restricts the regression analysis to estimate a single effect of the minimum wage, regardless of the current level of the minimum wage or the size of the increase. My approach is more flexible and permits variation in the wage elasticity of demand for low-skill labor. 2) Most previous minimum wage research uses a single, nominally-valued, minimum wage variable. This approach also inherently assumes that there is a single effect of minimum wage increases, rather than allowing different sources of minimum wage variation to have different effects. In response, I estimate whether the effect of the minimum wage varies by type of minimum wage variation. 3) Lastly, while multiple researchers—including those that originated the “New Minimum Wage Research”—have postulated that the effect of the minimum wage likely varies by region, labor market, or timing of the increase, nearly no research has actually systematically explored whether the effect of the minimum wage does vary across time and space. My results indicate that there is indeed substantial variation in how different labor markets and regions respond to minimum wage increases, and that the effect also varies over time. This supports Boudreaux’s contention that the effect of the minimum wage is unique to each region and time period (Boudreaux, 2016a). In short, the divergence in the results found by the New Minimum Wage Research may be at least partly attributable to the econometric model commonly used and variation in the effect of the minimum wage.

Committee:

Mark D. Partridge (Advisor); Noah Dormady (Committee Member); Joyce Chen (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Labor Economics; Regional Studies

Keywords:

minimum wage; labor demand; regional economics

Meeusen, Karl M.FORESTS, CARBON, AND BIOMASS ELECTRICITY GENERATION: TWO ESSAYS IN NATURAL RESOURCE ECONOMICS
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2011, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Chapter One of this research examines the effects of using forest and forest waste products for both electricity generation and traditional timber products, looking specifically at the optimal rotation age of forests and the maximum net present value (NPV) of forest land. This research uses both a deterministic setting characterized by the traditional Faustmann model and various scenarios where prices, growth rates, and interest rates are uncertain to look at how foresters’ decisions may change when they also take into consideration the value of forests for carbon storage and offsets and the value of mill and forest residues as an alternative fuel source for electricity generation. A numerical example is developed showing the methods applied to Oak-Hickory forests in Ohio. In the deterministic model, when carbon prices are added, the forester maximizes the NPV of the forest using only mill waste for electricity generation until carbon price reach $160. At carbon prices greater than $160, the forester maximizes the NPV by harvesting the forest waste as well as using the mill waste for electricity generation. The environmental benefits of using mill waste and forest waste for electricity can offset from 191,108 to 222,205 tons of carbon per year in the state of Ohio. Using a Monte Carlo simulation to account for uncertainty in growth rate, timber price and carbon price this research shows the rotation age decreases, but not at statistically significant level until carbon prices exceed $200 per ton. However, additional flexibility in the rotation age allows the forester to take advantage of the spikes in prices caused by uncertainty, improving the NPV of the forest land. The research conducted in Chapter two examines a global forestry model with multiple uses for harvested timber. Specifically, utilizing dynamic linear programming, this research addresses the global effect on optimal forestry planning and carbon sequestration when forest products are used for either traditional timber products or electricity generation. In this model, a biomass electricity sector is defined and comprised of electricity generated from forest residues, milling residues, and a choice variable to determine if otherwise merchantable timber is best used for energy production or timber. This research finds that using forest residues for electricity production leads to increased quantities of timber harvested, reduced timber prices, and a slight decrease in the total carbon stored in the forest. The Alternate Scenarios showed quantities harvested between 0.83 percent and 6.82 percent greater than the Baseline Scenario. Timber prices in the Baseline Scenario are as much as 3.85 percent greater than prices in the Alternate Scenarios. The results also show that adding biomass electricity from forest residues, while offsetting as much as 2.9 Pg of carbon over all periods tested, may not lead to positive or sustainable net carbon storage in the total forestry system.

Committee:

Brent Sohngen, DF (Advisor); Tim Haab, PhD (Committee Member); Doug Southgate, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Environmental Economics

Keywords:

Forestry; Faustmann; Carbon Sequestration; Biomass; Uncertainty

Zhang, WendongThree Essays on Land Use, Land Management, and Land Values in the Agro-Ecosystem
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2015, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Over the past few years, U.S. agriculture has experienced a myriad of macroeconomic and environmental changes that have profound implications for the well-being of farm households and the farm sector. An expanding biofuels market and growing export demand from China have led to rising agricultural commodity prices since mid-2000s. However, during the same time period, the residential housing market collapsed in 2007-2008 could impose a downturn pressure on farmland market, and there is a growing concern for environmental problems due to excessive agricultural nutrient runoff as well as stronger calls for more effective agri-environmental policies to curb nonpoint source agricultural pollution. Economic analyses of farmer decisions in this constrained and evolving environment are critical to understand how these changes have impacted farmer welfare and trade-offs with ecosystem and other societal benefits. Using individual-level data on farmland parcels and farmers from Ohio and Lake Erie basin, my dissertation examines how the recent housing market bust, expanding ethanol production, and rising environmental concerns have impacted farmers’ land use, land management, and land transaction decisions and the implications for farmer welfare. Farm real estate represents over 80% of the balance sheet of the farm sector and is the single largest item in a typical farmer’s investment portfolio, and thus changes in farmland values could affect the welfare of the farmer household and farm sector in general. The first two chapters of my dissertation examine the trends and determinants of farmland values in the Midwest in the 2000s decade. In particular, the first chapter identifies the impact of the recent residential housing market bust and subsequent economic recession on farmland values, using parcel-level farmland sales data from 2001-2010 for a 50-county region under urbanization pressure in Western Ohio. My estimates from hedonic regressions reveal that farmland was not immune to the residential housing bust; the portion of farmland value attributable to urban demands for developable land was almost cut in half shortly after the housing market bust in 2009-2010. The second chapter investigates the capitalization of expanding biofuels market in surrounding farmland values. In particular, it tests for structural change in the relative effects of proximity to agricultural market channels before and after the construction of seven ethanol plants in or near western Ohio in late 2006 – early 2007. Instrumental variables regression on the matched sample demonstrates the positive capitalization of newly constructed ethanol plants. The last chapter examines the interplay between agriculture and the environment and the trade-off between farmer welfare and ecosystem benefits resulting from alternative agri-environmental policies. Using individual level data on farm, field, and farmer characteristics, the third chapter develops a structural econometric model of farmer’ profit-maximizing output supply and input demand decisions, and quantifies the impacts of alternative nutrient management policies, including uniform and targeted fertilizer taxes. Results reveal that neither a fertilizer tax nor an educational campaign could alone achieve the policy goal of a 40% reduction in agricultural nutrient loadings into Lake Erie, and spatial targeting has the potential to improve the cost-effectiveness of the policies.

Committee:

Elena Irwin (Advisor); Brian Roe (Committee Member); Sathya Gopalakrishnan (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Agriculture; Economics; Environmental Economics; Public Policy; Sustainability; Water Resource Management

Keywords:

Farmland Values, Housing Market Bust, Ethanol, Agri-Environmental Policy, Spatial Targeting, Lake Erie, Harmful Algal Bloom, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Hedonic Price Method, Propensity Score Matching, Structural Model, Integrated Ecological-Economic Model

Mitova, Mariana A.Relationship Between Investments in Self and Post-Graduation Career Satisfaction Among Apparel and Textiles Majors
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Bowling Green State University, 2017, Leadership Studies
Rachel Vannatta Reinhart, Advisor The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to explore the relationship between investments that students make in themselves while enrolled in a higher education program and their post-graduation career satisfaction, and (2) to gather information about the importance apparel and textile professionals place on selected competencies identified by the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA). Graduates (n=123) of an apparel and textiles (A&T) program at a four-year, public research institution were surveyed to examine which investments in self best predict post-graduation career satisfaction. The Survey of A&T Graduates’ Career Satisfaction consisted of 86 items measuring perceived importance and preparation of the ITAA meta-goals and competencies, career satisfaction, co-curricular activity involvement, on-the-job training, health and well-being, career competencies, and willingness to relocate. Multiple regression showed that Career Competencies and Health and Well-being best predicted participants’ post-graduation career satisfaction. Participants rated the Professional Development meta-goal; the Ethics, Social Responsibility, and Sustainability meta-goal; and Critical and Creative Thinking meta-goal of highest importance. These same meta-goals received highest perceived preparation ratings. Lastly, ANOVA findings revealed that buyers, retail managers, marketing professionals and others indicated differences in perceptions of competencies and meta-goals. The buyers/merchandisers rated the Industry Processes and the Critical and Creative Thinking meta-goals of higher importance than retail managers. Retail managers perceived the Global Interdependence meta-goal as less important than marketing professionals did. The Ethics, Social Responsibility, and Sustainability meta-goal was perceived more important by retail managers than “others” category did. Graduates’ career satisfaction differed mostly by Income levels. Those who reported earning lower salaries were overall less satisfied with their careers. Results suggest that current leaders of apparel and textile programs should enhance their curricula with pedagogy methods that facilitate learning of teamwork, leadership, clear communication, ethics, and social responsibilities. Internships and experiential learning are recommended to enhance the on-the-job training of students in A&T programs. In addition, all investments in self, with exception of Willingness to Relocate, are related to Career Satisfaction. Lastly, Post-graduation career satisfaction is best predicted by graduates’ Career Competencies and Health and Well-being.

Committee:

Rachel Vannatta Reinhart (Advisor); Gregory Rich (Other); Barbara Frazier (Committee Member); Joyce Litten (Committee Member); Patrick Pauken (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Adult Education; Curricula; Curriculum Development; Design; Economic Theory; Economics; Education; Education Policy; Educational Evaluation; Educational Leadership; Health; Health Education; Higher Education; Higher Education Administration; Home Economics; Home Economics Education; Mental Health

Keywords:

Higher Education; College; Well-being; Health; Students; Career Satisfaction; Apparel; Textiles; Internships; ITAA; Graduates; Professionals; On-the-job Training; Internships; Curriculum; HCT; Human Capital Theory; economic theory; assessment

Schrickel, James RobertLa Survie du petit cultivateur et l'agriculture traditionnelle en France: Le Conflit entre l'heritage et l'efficacite The Survial of the Small Farmer and Traditional Agriculture in France: The Conflict Between Heritage and Efficiency
Artium Baccalaureus (AB), Ohio University, 2014, French
Pendant que les communautes rurales se trouvent de plus en plus poussees vers l’urbanisation, les paysans francais s’accrochent a leurs proprietes et a leur heritage. L’agriculture mecanisee, alimentee par un haut taux d’investissement et des developpements technologiques, remplace le besoin du travail manuel a la campagne pendant que les methodes productivistes augment brusquement la reserve des produits agricoles aux niveaux excessifs, font baisser les prix, et saisissent la part de marche. Bien que les grandes corporations agroalimentaires en France soient mieux regulees que celles dans d’autres pays tels que les Etats-Unis, la legislation au niveau national et au niveau europeen favorisent les operations agricoles plus efficaces au depens des petites fermes traditionnelles. Cette these part en exploration des chances de reussite de redynamiser les communautes rurales durables en France, et les benefices atteignables si l’on soutient des methodes de culture traditionnelles et moins intensives. As rural communities find themselves continuously pushed towards urbanization, the French provincial-farmer class clings to its landholdings and its heritage. New investments in expensive farming equipment and techniques are replacing the need for manual labor in the countryside as productivist methods hike the supply of agricultural products to excessive levels, depress prices, and seize market share. While large food and agriculture corporations in France are more tightly regulated than they are in countries such as the United States, legislation at both the national and European levels have favored more efficient agricultural operations to the detriment of traditional small farms. This thesis explores the viability of reinvigorating sustainable rural communities in France and the benefits of supporting less-intensive, more traditional farming practices.

Committee:

Lois Vines, Dr. (Advisor)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Agriculture; Business Costs; Conservation; Demographics; Economics; Environmental Economics; Environmental Health; Environmental Management; Environmental Studies; European Studies; Food Science; Modern History

Keywords:

french agriculture;Jose Bove;agriculture;Common Agricultural Policy;Agricultural economics;CAP;PAC;politique agricole commune;french farmers;agricultural surpluses;agrobusiness;capitalism;rural displacement;rural multifunctionality

Boyle, Kathleen MarieOrganic Cotton Clothing: Is it Helping to Raise the Bottom?
Master of Arts, University of Akron, 2014, Clothing, Textiles and Interiors
Evidence is pointing to the re-emergence of sweatshop and/or exploitive working conditions within the textile and apparel industries, possible today because of the concentration of players and the move to off-shore production. Today, globally, cotton is the primary fiber of choice for apparel. The globalization of the cotton industry has had detrimental effects on small-scale farmers. Environmental and social activists are documenting evidence of the disparities of cotton production due to globalization. Small-scale cotton farmers, in today’s arena, have to compete with large cotton agribusinesses that are highly subsidized. Fair trade and/or organic cotton have met standards demonstrating environmental and social responsibility. Large retail companies are now making clothing from organic cotton for the eco-conscious consumer. Does organic cotton apparel equate to better working conditions for the farmer-to-garment supply chain? One of the goals of this research paper has been to compile a literature review from disparate points of view in order to establish the relationship of organic cotton to the working conditions within the textile and apparel industry. These topics include the social history of the textile and apparel industry in the United States, the development of trade agreements, and the expansion of the textile and apparel industry globally and the various standards and organizations establishing criteria for cotton. In addition, through investigative studies of five retail companies known for their organic cotton apparel, this paper analyzes whether organic cotton clothing is helping to raise the bottom line in the “race to the bottom.”

Committee:

Teena Jennings-Rentenaar, Dr. (Advisor); Virginia Gunn, Dr. (Committee Member); David Witt, Dr. (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Economics; Labor Economics; Textile Research

Keywords:

organic cotton clothing; sweatshops; labor conditions; apparel; textile industry; market conditions; fair trade; clothing; H and M; Nike; cotton subsidies; cotton; government policy

Angrist, Joshua DavidSample selection bias and the nature of unemployment
BA, Oberlin College, 1982, Economics
The most disturbing and difficult empirical problems of labor economics revolve around the absence of crucial information; the wage an unemployed person would receive if he or she were working. The most controversial policy problem of labor economics is embodied in the question; when is unemployment a problem? The goal of this paper is to propose a methodology for studying the first problem that sheds some light on the second.

Committee:

Luis Fernandez (Advisor); Hirschel Kasper (Advisor)

Subjects:

Economic Theory; Economics; Labor Economics

Keywords:

labor;economics;unemployment;wages;

Farrin, Kathleen MauraEscape from Poverty Traps: Three Essays on the Effects of Policy Intervention on Agricultural Productivity and Welfare among the Rural Poor
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2013, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
I present three essays on how agricultural policies affect technology adoption among poor, rural households in developing countries, and, in turn, how such policies can affect household welfare. In Essay 1, I examine technology, default and index insurance choice. I employ a dynamic, stochastic, heterogeneous agent model where farm households have access to contingent credit or credit-linked insurance, and make choices regarding technology and loan repayment in each period. My approach is novel as insurance is modeled as a meso-level product, where the bank is indemnified before any payouts are distributed to its borrowers. Thus, the model takes into account both supply- and demand-side concerns, showing the possibilities of a trickle-down effect when insurance contracts are sold not to individual households, but instead to risk aggregators for whom basis risk is lower. Results show that insurance can have a positive effect on technology uptake, while letting the lender lay first claim on indemnities lowers default. Additionally, bundled credit-insurance contracts allow for higher rates of return for banks, thus increasing sustainability of the credit market in rural areas. In Essay 2, I examine food price spikes and food insecurity, particularly among subsistence households who are vulnerable to price increases for staple goods. I begin with a review of the recent food security crises, presenting a taxonomy of policy response for 124 countries. Because long-term development projects are a favorable response, I focus on policies of market integration through infrastructure buildup. I present a model that captures the welfare effects of transportation constraints for poor farmers in a village economy; after numerically solving for an economy-wide equilibrium, I vary the transportation constraint to compare outcomes under different levels of infrastructure development. I find increased rates of food insecurity and higher, more volatile village prices when transportation capacity is capped for a net importing village. In Essay 3, I present an empirical analysis of the effects of cash cropping on household welfare, and investigate the possibility of mental accounting among poor farming households. Using a crossection of Malawian maize and tobacco farmers, I propose an econometric framework to test for effects of source-specific income changes on nutritional quality. Results of a quantile regression show marginal effects of tobacco and maize income are significantly different for lower quantiles. After correcting for endogeneity of tobacco income, I find rural Malawian farming households display unequal marginal propensities to consume out of different income sources, with business profits having the greatest positive effect on dietary diversity. While not statistically significant, correcting for endogeneity switches the sign on tobacco profits from positive (and significant for households in lower nutritional quantiles) to negative. From a policy perspective, this indicates that programs that encourage cash cropping among marginal farmers may worsen nutritional outcomes among households who already suffer from poor diets. While results cannot be explicitly tied to mental accounting, the finding that money is not fungible gives way for future work on dynamic models of household choice that incorporate “psychological costs” of spending out of food crop income.

Committee:

Mario Miranda (Advisor); Abdoul Sam (Advisor); Joyce Chen (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Finance

Keywords:

Index Insurance; Poverty Traps; Food Security; Mental Accounting

Curtis, Wayne R.Social Entrepreneurship and Wealth-Building Plans: Creative Strategies for Working Class Americans
Ph.D., Antioch University, 2013, Leadership and Change
This study investigated how the elements of social entrepreneurship with wealth-building strategies can advance the creation of wealth and serve as a mechanism for social change. This research takes a modest first step toward demystifying social entrepreneurship, better understanding the phenomenon, and exploring the relevance of wealth-building in social entrepreneurial activity. Specifically, this exploratory study used a multiple case study design to understand how existing social entrepreneurial ventures include wealth-building strategies, such as employee stock ownership plans for working class Americans. The concept of social entrepreneurship is relatively new. There is general agreement that the concept combines a passion for pursuing social mission with business discipline and innovation to achieve sustainable social change, such as wealth-building for employees. There is considerably less knowledge about the connection of social entrepreneurship to wealth building; these two concepts are generally treated as separate and often unrelated. Nonetheless, there are various tools utilized to advance wealth building, such as savings plans that are matched by foundations, debt-reduction counseling services, and entrepreneurial training programs to help start small businesses. This exploratory study may represent the first attempt to combine the discussion of social entrepreneurship and wealth building in the same research discussion. The final cases used in this study represent three distinct business industries: the educational sector, the advocacy industry, and a professional firm specializing in design and build architecture. Each of the three cases has been in existence for a minimum of 25 years, and the founders of the companies are directly or tangentially still involved in day-to-day operations. Two of the cases have an employee stock ownership plan and the remaining one another form of wealth building. This dissertation is accompanied by the author’s MP4 file, titled Author_IntroductionCurtis.mp4. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at Ohiolink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd.

Committee:

Elizabeth L. Holloway, PhD (Committee Chair); Mitch Kusy, PhD (Committee Member); Lisa Kreeger, PhD (Committee Member); Peter Thompson, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Business Costs; Economics; Finance; Labor Economics; Management; Organization Theory; Organizational Behavior; Social Research

Keywords:

business costs; economics, social entrepreneurship; wealth building; labor economics; organizational behavior; organizational theory; finance; financial independence

Liu, HongxingCoupled Modeling of Economic – Hydrological Systems: Examining Spatial Heterogeneity in Water Quality Benefits and Optimal Agricultural Land Use Management in Ohio
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2017, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Water quality within a watershed is strongly linked to human behavior. Economic agents directly and indirectly impact the quality of water resources through land use and land management decisions—often with unintended consequences. Understanding dynamic feedbacks between economic decisions and water resources is essential for long-term policies that balance agricultural management and ecosystem services. In this dissertation, we examine three policy-related questions: 1) What is the impact of water quality change in the Hoover Reservoir, Ohio? 2) Are there welfare gains from targeted policies in a heterogeneous landscape? 3) How do farmers’ agricultural decisions respond to policy incentives and how does that affect water quality? In the second chapter, we use a hedonic pricing model to estimate the impact of water quality change of the Hoover Reservoir capitalized in the surrounding housing market. We work with hydrologists to link the economic data with nutrient flow data they generated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and construct water quality indicators that represent the expected algal production of the reservoir. The econometric results indicate the marginal implicit price associated with one gram of algal production per square meters per day in the Hoover Reservoir is $3,071.64 to $3,238.80 for housing properties adjacent to the Hoover Reservoir. We also find that spatial heterogeneity matters, as the impact decreases with distance. In the third chapter, we develop a platform to solve the social planner’s problem of maximizing social welfare on heterogeneous landscapes. We develop a dynamic optimal control model to examine the tradeoffs between agricultural decisions and water quality impacted by nutrient runoff based on spatial characteristics. We derive the optimal fertilizer choice for a representative farm, and the corresponding tax scheme to achieve the social optimal outcome. We find welfare gains from spatially targeted policies increase with increasing level of heterogeneity in soil characteristics compared with uniform fertilizer usage fee. We also show that there is an optimal level of heterogeneity in implementing spatially targeted policies. In the fourth chapter we study farmers’ behavior of best management practice (BMP) adoption in response to policy incentive programs in the Western Lake Erie Watershed. We use ordered logit model to analyze and predict farmers’ adoption decisions under different policy payment scenarios, and link economic behavior model with hydrologic model (SWAT) to analyze the impact of agricultural management practices on water quality in Lake Erie. We find payment programs for subsurface placement adoption reduce total phosphorus (TP) and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) by 4% and 7% compared with the baseline no policy scenario, respectively. Higher payment program leads to higher adoption rate in the Maumee River watershed. Our work develops an empirically grounded model to examine tradeoffs between agricultural decisions and water quality and provides deep insights for management policies that spatially target on heterogeneous socio-economic and physical characteristics. It links economic models with hydrologic model to derive full understanding of the human-ecosystem, and develops policy tools for long-term management decisions.

Committee:

Sathya Gopalakrishnan (Advisor); Elena Irwin (Committee Member); Gajan Sivandran (Committee Member); Brent Sohngen (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Environmental Economics

Keywords:

coupled human-natural system; water quality; non-market valuation; harmful algal bloom; economic-hydrological process model

Wang, YingEssays on Risk Management for Agricultural Commodity Futures Market
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2016, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Funding risk, which caused the $1.3 billion derivatives-related loss at MG Refining & Marketing, Inc. in 1993, has long been overlooked in the risk management literature. The key to understanding funding risk is that, as futures hedging practice requires substantial infusions of cash to meet variation margin calls, the maximum margin required may occur well before the expiration of the futures contract, but must be met in order to maintain the futures positions. This paper approaches the question of how to properly measure the “funding risk” of commodity futures positions by estimating a CD-Vine copula model for the dependence of corn, soybean and wheat futures at multiple forecast intervals, using Harrison’s method and the Extreme Value Theory to calibrate the distribution of the maximum. This is the first attempt in the literature to model the extreme prices of futures contracts over a given time period in an agricultural commodity portfolio context. The adoption of the recently-developed CD-Vine copula model allows one to model the dependence structure in a more flexible manner than the previous standard multivariate models based on Gaussian or Student’s t distributions. Witnessing the recent surge in price and volatility of agricultural commodity markets, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to assess the probability of rare and extreme price movements in the risk management of agricultural commodity futures. Similar to other financial time series, agricultural commodity futures exhibit the characteristics of time-varying volatility and fat tails. In this chapter, we employ the McNeil and Frey’s two step approach and conditional Extreme Value Theory to estimate Value-at-Risk (VaR) and Expected Shortfall (ES) for long and short positions in the agricultural commodity futures market at multiple significance levels, and compare this approach to conventional multivariate Normal or Student’s t distribution based models, Historical Simulation, RiskMetrics etc. The backtesting demonstrates that this GARCH-EVT approach provides a significant improvement over the widely used Normal and Student’s t distribution based VaR and ES models, which tend to underestimate the true risk and fail to provide accurate VaR estimates that are statistically no different from the corresponding significance level. To capture the tail dependence and properly estimate portfolio VaR, copula models are introduced to estimate a portfolio measure of risk in a multi-commodity setting. This has broad applications, for instance, for an agricultural commodity end-user that is purchasing corn, wheat and soybeans simultaneously. The conventional approach to this problem is to use a multivariate GARCH (a.k.a. MGARCH) model to estimate the conditional covariance between the futures prices. However, the typical MGARCH model approach inevitably suffers from being unduly restrictive because of the classical joint multivariate Gaussian assumption, despite the empirical evidence against elliptical distributions in commodity price returns. Also, from the perspective of computational efforts, the number of parameters to be estimated in the MGARCH specification often increases rapidly, stemming from the high-dimensional nature of the problem.

Committee:

Matthew Roberts (Advisor); Stanley Thompson (Committee Member); Mario Miranda (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics

Jahns, Claire M.The effects of regulatory threats and strategic bargaining on firms' voluntary participation in pollution reduction programs
BA, Oberlin College, 2003, Economics

After years of intense debate, global climate change has finally been acknowledged as a serious threat to global biological, political and economic systems. There is overwhelming evidence that the atmospheric warming observed over the course of the past 50 years, as well as the increasing incidence of extreme weather events and floods, is being caused by the acceleration of the rate in which greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by the burning of fossil fuels are being released into the atmosphere. The extreme weather and weather-related events associated with climate change, such as landslides and flooding, totaled roughly $40 billion in the 1990s. It is not surprising, then, that the governments of many developed and developing nations, as well as intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations and the World Bank, have adopted a variety of measures to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate the potential impacts of climatic change. The government of Slovakia sold credits for 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents to a Japanese trading house at an undisclosed price on December 6, 2002, making history by signing the first deal to be officially credited within the international Kyoto Protocol, a global agreement to reduce the GHG emissions of participating countries seven percent relative to their 1990 levels by 2010. Nor is it surprising that environmental interest groups and active citizens in the United States and elsewhere are pressing their elected leaders to pass stricter regulations on the emission of GHGs.

What is somewhat baffling, though, is the number of privately owned companies that have taken it upon themselves to voluntarily reduce GHG emissions as a way to address climate change in recent years. Dozens of companies are voluntarily participating in the design and implementation of GHG emission reductions programs. For example, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) lists 47 international members including Gaz de France, British Petroleum, Shell International Limited, Norsk Hydro and Unocal. Private for-profit groups like the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a pilot emissions reduction credit (ERC) trading program, and C02e.com, Cantor Fitzgerald's online emission trading market, are forming partnerships with private companies to devise strategies for reducing emissions in the quickest and most cost-effective manner. Government programs like the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Trading Pilot (GERT) in Canada and other programs in France and the United Kingdom are forming similar partnerships. Nonprofit environmental groups like Environmental Defense and the World Wildlife Fund have their own, similar pilot projects. Most of these voluntary programs are centered around emissions trading, a policy tool commonly utilized for its cost effectiveness and ability to yield abatement results.

Committee:

Hirschel Kasper (Advisor)

Subjects:

Economic Theory; Economics; Environmental Economics; Environmental Management; Environmental Studies

Keywords:

greenhouse;gases;GHG;climate;change;World Bank;global;government;industrial management;environmental policy;

Smallens, Ziya MehmetProsperity in the On-Demand Economy: Reinvigorating the American Labor Force
BA, Oberlin College, 2016, Politics

In the 21st century, the American labor market is best defined by instability. Since the 1970s, more and more Americans have been forced into precarious work arrangements that fail to ensure job security, livable wage-rates, or employee satisfaction. A dark cloud swirls around the labor market in the form of contingent work. Contingent workers are not guaranteed the same protections and securities as traditional employees. Firms revel in an employment landscape that allows them to deploy and terminate workers with ease. Contingent work has carved its own position in the economy in the form of the Gig economy. The Gig economy marks a pivot in American employment relationships: where the postwar labor market served to fortify long-term commitments between firms and their workers, the Gig economy has propelled workers towards vulnerability.

Despite its casualization of the American economy, the Gig economy has also inspired the emergence of a new, and potentially significant, form of commercial exchange in the On-Demand economy. The On-Demand economy is comprised of app- based platforms that connect consumers with workers who provide a single service or form of exchange. On the surface, this sector of the economy simply exacerbates a structural trend towards precarity. This assessment is short-sighted. On-Demand platforms offer groundbreaking forms of commercial exchange. Consumers can request a service, and within minutes, have their whims conveniently satisfied. Recent technological advancements have inspired the growth of business models that were implausible less than two decades ago. Today, most On-Demand platforms placate the desires of consumers. These platforms have the potential to generate consumer demand and ensure the provision of vital services to the weakest among us. With the On-Demand economy, workers can benefit from the ability to assert sovereignty in a labor market that has subjugated them for the past several decades.

Currently, the On-Demand economy is hindered by the fact that it is a product of the wider Gig economy. The former may inspire innovation and creative forms of exchange, but it still operates under the auspices of the latter. Therefore, On-Demand workers are pushed into unstable and unpredictable employment arrangements. The predominant systems responsible for protecting and advocating for American workers were constructed in the early 20th century, during the New Deal. The public policies and institutions ushered in by the New Deal have undoubtedly enhanced the livelihoods of millions of Americans. Despite this fact, these systems and forms of protections have frayed over the past several decades; they were never intended to satisfy the needs of workers in the Gig and On-Demand economy. If the rules and regulations outlined by the New Deal were imposed on firms in the On-Demand economy, the results would be disastrous. While conventional policy prescriptions could theoretically benefit workers, they would smother the emerging On-Demand economy, and inhibit the flexibility it avails to workers.

Macrostructural trends have provoked the rise of the nefarious Gig economy as well as the potentially valuable On-Demand economy. Both sectors of the economy challenge the traditional methods by which workers are guaranteed security and stability. The goal of this Thesis is to investigate how labor protections and benefits can be reimagined in order to empower American workers whilst simultaneously fostering innovation and flexibility in the On-Demand economy.

Committee:

Chris Howell (Advisor); Marc Blecher (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Business Administration; Economics; Labor Economics; Labor Relations; Political Science; Public Policy

Keywords:

Gig Economy; On-Demand Economy; Uber; Airbnb; TaskRabbit; Venture Capital; Social Security; Contingent Work; Fordism; New Deal; American Workforce; Independent Contractors; Tech start-ups; employer-employee; Public Policy; unions; labor intermediaries

Irwin, Nicholas BrocEssays on Environmental Regulation and Urban Redevelopment
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2016, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics
Understanding the responses of households and housing markets to governmental policies and regulation is fundamentally important to shaping effective policy that improves social welfare. Public policies and subsequent private market responses influence both the intensity of development in the built environment and the spatial distribution of amenities across the landscape. This increases the desirability of some areas while diminishing the attractiveness of others, causing households to resort across space in a utility maximizing manner. As governments shape strategies to deal with an increasingly polluted environment and work to reinvigorate shrinking cities, it is supremely important that careful economic analysis evaluate these efforts to provide meaningful feedback for future policy decisions. Using spatially explicit data on housing parcels and distinct neighborhoods from the greater Baltimore, Maryland metropolitan region, my dissertation examines the household and neighborhood-level responses to governmental policies shaping green infrastructure and urban redevelopment while also studying how spatial spillovers drive the decision-making process of individual households to undertake private redevelopment. The common theme that unites my three essays is the use of spatially explicit data and modeling approaches for the research questions I pursue, all of which focus on a single geographic area. My first chapter investigates the capitalization of a particular type of green infrastructure – stormwater basins – into house prices. Some argue that such green infrastructure projects provide additional benefits generated by their natural features beyond the ecosystem services they generate through mitigating damaging stormwater runoff and filtering of pollutants. I use housing transactions data and exploit the spatial and temporal variations in basin placement and design in Baltimore County to uncover any price capitalization from basin proximity. I find that adjacency to basins leads to house prices that are consistently lower and that the effect of this price decrease accentuates as the basin ages. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first rigorous empirical examination of the capitalization of this type of green infrastructure into house prices and I conclusively show that, rather than generating additional benefits, basins generate an additional cost for proximate households. In my second chapter, I study the role a spatially targeted urban revitalization program in Baltimore, Maryland, has on neighborhood housing markets. Using a unique set of housing activity data coupled with neighborhood level data on demographics, the environment, and amenities, I exploit the implementation of the program, which created a preliminary list of neighborhoods to target for block-level vacant housing demolition and subsequently funded a selection of those neighborhoods to create a quasi-experimental model. My results show that neighborhoods receiving the program funding – the treated group – have a subsequently higher number of housing sales and housing renovations than the non-funded neighborhoods – the control group – but this effect only materializes when multiple projects receiving funding in a neighborhood. I also find that high levels of crime dampen the effectiveness of the program on neighborhood housing markets. In my third chapter, I focus on the role of spatial spillovers in the decision of individual homeowners to reinvest into their own housing stock. Using parcel level data from 2005-2008 in Baltimore, Maryland, I utilize a social interactions model to study the effect of previous neighboring renovations on the decision to renovate in the current period while controlling for underlying spatial correlation within the neighborhood. I find strong evidence of spatial spillovers in the renovation decision with an additional neighboring renovation increasing the likelihood of a renovation in the current period; results which are consistent across changing neighborhood size. The overall implications of my research are three-fold. Firstly, I find that the use of spatially explicit data, such as housing parcels, allows me to capture highly localized effects that introduce important sources of heterogeneity that would be overlooked without such data. Secondly, I find strong evidence that public policy creates spillovers that have the potential to generate positive multiplier effects that can magnify across broader spatial scales. Finally, I find that spatial relationships can be an important determinant on economic outcomes at both a parcel and neighborhood level.

Committee:

Elena Irwin (Advisor); H. Allen Klaiber (Committee Member); Mark Partridge (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Economics; Environmental Economics; Public Policy

Kim, Gui JeongHow Households Adjust Expenditures And Savings In Response To Income Shock
Doctor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University, 2017, Consumer Sciences
In this dissertation, I focus on how households adjust their expenses in response to changes in income as well as the asymmetric responses in expenses behavior by distinguishing between income increases and decreases. To account for the prospect theory hypothesis, which emphasizes that utility of consumption depends not only on current consumption but also reference status in terms of how current consumption deviates from past consumption, I use a variable introduced in the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), current expenses relative to usual expenses, as a dependent variable. In the current study, a reference status is measured by subjective assessment of normal income and normal expenses level, rather than by an objective measurement such as lagged income and lagged consumption. I estimate asymmetric income effects on expenses across income quartiles based on a binary variable of income shocks and a continuous variable of income shocks, respectively. To do so, I employ pooled data from the 2010 and 2013 SCF and run Multinomial logit regression, which allows for estimates of the effects of changes in income on each category of a dependent variable, compared to the reference category for the dependent variable. The results with a binary variable of income shocks show that the negative income shock decreases expenses (statistically significant) across all income group, while the positive income shock has a statistically significant effect on increased expenses compared to usual expenses only in the lowest- and highest-income groups. Based on F-tests, I find the asymmetric effect of changes in income on changes in expenses. However, this asymmetry (i.e. the decrease in expenses in response to negative income shocks is greater than the increases in expenses in response to positive income shock) is not consistent with loss-aversion behavior. But it also does not make sense to interpret it as a of the result of liquidity constraints, especially for the highest income group. The results with a continuous variable of income shocks show that the negative income shocks have a statistically significant effect on decreasing expenses, compared to usual expenses across income groups. Yet the positive income shocks have a statistically significant effect on increased expenses, compared to usual expenses, only in the highest-income group. Based on F-tests, the magnitude of the effect of negative income shocks for predicting less versus usual expenses is statistically significantly different from magnitude of the effect of positive income shocks for predicting more versus usual expenses only for the highest income group. That is, there is evidence of loss-aversion behavior only for households in the highest income quartile. The results suggest people may pay more attention to negative shocks and adjust their consumption level given their limited resources, compared to people who experience positive income shocks. Another plausible interpretation is that people in the highest income group are not seriously affected by reduced income and have ability to keep consumption level, while they can easily increase expenses in response to positive income. All in all, the loss aversion assumption seems to be more relevant to high income households. The findings provide implications for financial planners, households, and future researches.

Committee:

Andrew Hanks (Advisor); Sherman Hanna (Committee Member); Robert Scharff (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Economics; Home Economics

Keywords:

Income Shock; prospect theory hypothesis; home economics

Gober, Jon M.A Points Per Game Rating For NFL Quarterbacks
Master of Science, The Ohio State University, 2009, Agricultural, Environmental Development Economics
Fans, teams, and commentators frequently use the NFL quarterback rating to evaluate quarterback performance. Linear programming models, tiered logistic regressions, and ordinary least squares regressions have also been used to measure efficiency but the NFL rating is the most frequently used metric. One deficiency of the NFL rating is that it overvalues completion percentage and interception percentage relative to passing yards per attempt. This creates a bias in favor of modern quarterbacks in the rating. I use NFL teams’ season statistics from 1970 through 2006 to derive a rating estimating a quarterback’s contribution to points-per-game with an ordinary least squares regression. I find that the points-per-game rating has less historical bias than the NFL rating and predicts winning percentage equally well.

Committee:

Tim Haab, PhD (Advisor); Brian Roe, PhD (Committee Member)

Subjects:

Agricultural Economics; Economics; Statistics

Keywords:

quarterback rating; NFL

Baker, Todd M. R.All work : an evaluation of worker's attitudes, worker's behavior and productivity in the U.S. automobile industry
BA, Oberlin College, 1990, Economics
The American automobile industry has become extremely sensitive to the increased number of Japanese cars and plants in the United States. Some parties believe that in order to operate competitively in the future labor and management must continue to find ways to work together and improve relations. Irving Bluestone, a former labor leader, believes that humanistic relations between the two parties are essential to the welfare of everyone involved. Joint efforts between the workers and management need to be continued and expanded. Both sides can benefit from such cooperation.

Committee:

Hirschel Kasper (Advisor)

Subjects:

Economics; Labor Economics

Keywords:

American;automobile;industry;attitudes;behavior;workers;productivity;United States;

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