Factors Affecting Markets, Economic Growth and Economic Development: Three Essays in Applied Economics
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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Abstract This dissertation consists of three essays. The topics of the essays are not necessary related, and each essay constitutes a chapter in this dissertation. The first chapter presents farm and retail models developed to determine the nexus between market factors and marketing margin in the U.S beef industry. Elasticity values obtained through error correction models (ECMs) were used in the equilibrium displacement modeling approach (EDM) to permit the full display of the paths through which shock in markets, in particular retail concentration affect the margin. Findings show that exogenous shifts that affect supply and demand of beef at retail and farm level, cause changes in quantities, prices and farm-retail margin. Consumer income, the farm production technology, oil price and retail concentration ratio, all increase the farm-retail marketing margin and this is due to retail price adjusting to change in farm price. Chapter 2 uses panel data covering 128 Alabama public school systems for the time period 2002–2011 to determine the impacts of academic performances and socio-economic factors on Alabama public school enrollment. Findings suggest that increase in test scores in reading, math and language, all increase school enrollment. However, the larger increase is observed with the increase in test scores in math. A 10 percent increase in test scores in reading, math and language raises school enrollment by 0.28 percent 1.23 percent and 0.65 percent respectively, suggesting that higher academic performance in math has a greater impact on parents’ decision to enroll their children in specific schools. In addition, the results indicate increase in non-instructional expenditures, and increase in the number of full time teachers produce a positive impact on enrollment. School enrollment increases by 0.12 percent and 1.01 percent when non-instructional expenditures and the number of full time teachers increase by 10 percent, reinforcing the very fundamental notion which suggests “money matters” in education output. On the opposite side, the findings indicate that growth in family income leads to a decrease in public school enrollment, and may indicate that pupils emigrate from public schools to private schools when the financial conditions of their family improve. Chapter 3 provides empirical evidences of factors affecting corruption and economic growth, with particular attention given to the impacts of the United Nations convention against-corruption (UNCAC) of the level of corruption and GDP per capita in Sub-Saharan African (SSA). Simultaneous equation model with panel data covering 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 1999-2013 were used. Findings indicate that the implementation of the policy has decreased the level of corruption and increased per capita GDP only in Middle Africa. Corruption decreases by 0.65 percent while GDP per capita increases by 0.67 percent after implementation of the policy. In the other parts of the SSA, the impacts are mostly nil. This suggests that UNCAC failed in its fundamental goal, which is to eradicate corruption and to promote economic growth throughout the continent. The empirical results also provide two key findings in that factors that decrease corruption increase economic growth while factors that increase economic growth decrease the level of corruption.