Three essays on adaptive learning, institutions and multiple equilibria

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Title: Three essays on adaptive learning, institutions and multiple equilibria
Author: Steiger, Laura Christina, 1977-
Abstract: This dissertation examines the role that institutions play in the existence of multiple equilibria in models of economic development. In addition, it examines the dynamics of transition between such equilibria. In the first chapter of this dissertation, I build a dynamic model of institutional choice, wherein the government invests in the legal infrastructure in response to the need for the protection of output from appropriation. A unique equilibrium exists only under commitment, not under discretion. This would suggest that a measure of institutional quality must not only consider the extent to which current policies protect property rights but also include the ability of the government to commit to reform in the long run. The second chapter of this dissertation examines the effect of adaptive learning on stability and transitional dynamics between multiple equilibria in a growth model with human capital externalities. I find that there are two equilibria, one a poverty trap with no education. Only the poverty trap is locally stable under learning. However, productivity shocks are not sufficient to generate transitions between the equilibria. Indeed, productivity shocks must lie below a threshold in order for the economy to escape the poverty trap. These escape paths do not allow the economy to transition to the upper steady state. I propose instead the use of shocks to expectations to permit such a transition. The third chapter of this dissertation presents an empirical test for the role that human capital and institutions may play in transitions between equilibria by estimating a Markov-switching regression. This methodology allows me to characterize both distinct growth regimes and transitions between them. I explore the effects of time-varying institutional measures and human capital on transition probabilities. I find that political and economic institutions are similar in their effects on transitions arid that the time variation in the institutional measure increases the probability of identifying both miracle growth and stagnation regimes. Furthermore, human capital has a significant effect on switches between miracle growth, stable growth and stagnation.
Description: x, 132 p. : ill. A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
Date: 2009-06

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