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Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Role Of Conditionally Correlated Variables In Information Economics, Carlos Luis Segura-Rodriguez Jan 2019

The Role Of Conditionally Correlated Variables In Information Economics, Carlos Luis Segura-Rodriguez

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In this thesis I study how complementarities/substitutabilities of information affect learning strategies and behavior in different economic environments. The thesis contains three chapters that focus on different economic situations.

Chapter 1 studies the efficiency of decentralized team formation inside research organizations through the lens of a one-sided matching model with non-cooperative after-match information production. In our model, inefficient sorting arises from two sources. First, moral hazard within teams may cause workers to join less productive teams in which they exert relatively less effort. Second, even if productive teams form, such teams may reduce average productivity across all teams. We ...


Hadza Hunter-Gatherers And The Evolution Of Human Cooperation: Evidence Against Partner Choice Models, Kristopher Michael Smith Jan 2019

Hadza Hunter-Gatherers And The Evolution Of Human Cooperation: Evidence Against Partner Choice Models, Kristopher Michael Smith

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Human cooperation is exceptional in the animal kingdom, and explaining its evolution is a puzzle. One hypothesis is that the ability to track others’ reputations and to choose our cooperative partners created biological markets, and competition within these markets selected for cooperators. Here, I test this hypothesis from the Hadza of Tanzania, one of the last remaining foraging populations. In Chapter 1, I use longitudinal data tracking cooperation in an economic game and residence patterns. In every year, contribution levels to the public good are similar within residence camps, fulfilling a necessary condition for the evolution of cooperation. However, cooperators ...


Regulating Access Or Costs? Two Approaches To Regionalizing Health Care, Lindsey J. Patterson Jan 2019

Regulating Access Or Costs? Two Approaches To Regionalizing Health Care, Lindsey J. Patterson

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The first chapter examines the effect of Maryland’s Global Budget Revenue (GBR) payment system on hospital volume. Under this payment system, the rate regulating authority prospectively determines each hospital's revenue budget based on historic utilization to slow total hospital spending growth in the state. Theory suggests that hospitals will meet this target by reducing volume only when they have exhausted their ability to adjust reimbursement rates. Due to Maryland’s unique history of hospital payment, estimation of causal effects has been limited by availability of suitable comparison groups. This paper develops three measures of in state hospital-level exposure--hospitals ...


Essays On Search, Timothy Hursey Jan 2019

Essays On Search, Timothy Hursey

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation consists of three chapters that examine search frictions within the macroeconomy. In the first chapter, I construct a model of simultaneous search to propose a novel contributor to the twin effects of labor force participation decline and rising wage inequality. An algorithm for solving the pairwise-stable matching in a macro environment is provided and incorporated into a dynamic, general equilibrium model. Falling search costs will generate falling labor force participation—as the lowest ranked workers are crowded out of the market—and rising wage inequality—as the competition for desired skills increases. An empirical tests corroborates the effects ...


States And Group Rights: Legal Pluralism And The Decentralization Of Judicial Power, Emma Hayward Jan 2019

States And Group Rights: Legal Pluralism And The Decentralization Of Judicial Power, Emma Hayward

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

When do states decentralize judicial power to ethnic and religious minority groups? This dissertation presents a theory to explain why states are willing to undertake significant transfers of power by lending their support to ascriptive, group-based law. It begins with a literature review of scholarship in comparative politics and public law, both of which argue, for different reasons, that because the judiciary is vital to the state’s coercive apparatus, property rights regime, and governing functions, we should not expect states to decentralize judicial power. Yet over half of the world’s states choose to officially engage with legal pluralism ...


Great Power, Arms, And Alliances, Keith Lambert Carter Jan 2019

Great Power, Arms, And Alliances, Keith Lambert Carter

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

After a low point in the early 2000s, the global arms trade is experiencing a resurgence. Powerful states such as the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and China account for the vast majority of the total exported arms but trading weapons technology seems inherently risky. It increases the proliferation rate of technology and creates vulnerability if a trading partner defects from an alliance. Given the risk, why do great powers trade their weapons? The results show a positive linear relationship between great power competition and the volume of arms trade globally. Positive relationships were also found for alliances, domestic regime ...


Essays In Housing Markets And Public Finance, Matthew Davis Jan 2019

Essays In Housing Markets And Public Finance, Matthew Davis

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation comprises three research papers on topics at the intersection of housing markets, taxation, and the provision of local public goods.

In Chapter 1, I study the economic incidence of the mortgage interest tax deduction -- a widespread, expensive, and regressive tax expenditure -- by combining a sufficient-statistics approach with direct estimates of the induced effect on house prices. I start with a flexible economic framework that expresses the policy’s distributional impact in terms of a key parameter: the capitalization effect, or the extent to which the deduction increases house prices. I then directly estimate this parameter, drawing on a ...


How To Live A Good Life And Afterlife: Conceptions Of Post-Mortem Existence And Practices Of Self-Cultivation In Early China, Ying Zhou Jan 2019

How To Live A Good Life And Afterlife: Conceptions Of Post-Mortem Existence And Practices Of Self-Cultivation In Early China, Ying Zhou

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In the field of sinology, a widespread truism is that mind-body holism is a defining characteristic of early Chinese conception of human life. In this dissertation, we wish to demonstrate that contesting notions of life and death co-exist in early China, against the presumption that mind-body dualism never arises in early China. First, through examining elite burials from Western Zhou through the Han, we demonstrate how the diametrically opposed visions of the dead (that of an ancestral spirit who lacks eternal existence and that of an immortal with a transcended physical form) were seamlessly combined in the burial practices from ...


Uncertainty And Learning In Dynamic Financial Econometrics, Paul Michael Sangrey Jan 2019

Uncertainty And Learning In Dynamic Financial Econometrics, Paul Michael Sangrey

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Every day the news reminds us that we live in a complex, ever-changing world. Against that background, this dissertation studies the econometrics of the interaction between time-varying uncertainty and learning. In particular, it develops parsimonious nonparametric methods for estimating risk in real time. The first two chapters develop tractable models and estimators for entire densities. The third chapter provides identification-robust inference for the prices of market and volatility risk when volatility exhibits complex dynamics.

The first chapter, "Jumps, Realized Densities, and News Premia," studies how jumps affect asset prices. It derives both a tractable nonparametric continuous-time representation for the price ...


Influence Of Landscape Spatial Patterns And Land Use Planning On Grassland Bird Habitat Occupancy In Chester County, Pennsylvania, M. Zoe Warner Jan 2019

Influence Of Landscape Spatial Patterns And Land Use Planning On Grassland Bird Habitat Occupancy In Chester County, Pennsylvania, M. Zoe Warner

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Throughout their range, North American grassland birds as a group have shown steeper and more widespread population declines than any other avian guild. Grassland bird decline corresponds to habitat loss, landscape fragmentation, agricultural intensification, and changes in land management. In areas where farmland is being converted, the presence or absence of grassland birds can be used to assess the availability of habitat across the landscape. Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania has historically had an agricultural economic base, but since the 1980s, steady population growth and economic diversification have reduced the amount of available agricultural land in the county. In the ...


Essays On Labor Markets With Search And Information Frictions, Joonbae Lee Jan 2019

Essays On Labor Markets With Search And Information Frictions, Joonbae Lee

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation attempts to analyze the wage determination and matching probability in labor markets with search and information frictions.

In the first chapter, I provide a theoretical framework to analyze the role of job-to-job transition in a worker's lifetime wage growth.

I use the first-price auction models to analyze the wage determination and job-to-job transition process, and formulate the inference problem about a worker's quality revealed through the worker's past job history.

By doing so, I characterize the mechanism through which frequent job transitions convey a negative signal about the worker's quality.

The second chapter, joint ...


Rhotic Emphasis And Uvularization In Moroccan Arabic, Aaron Freeman Jan 2019

Rhotic Emphasis And Uvularization In Moroccan Arabic, Aaron Freeman

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This study investigates the phonological behavior of secondarily post-velarized (‘emphatic’) consonants in Colloquial Moroccan Arabic, focusing primarily on variant pronunciations of the approximant /r/ and the relationship of pharyngeal to uvular articulation. In certain contexts, /r/ independently exhibits phonetic characteristics similar to those of the primary ‘emphatic’ phonemes /ṭ ḍ ṣ/, and for many speakers a combination of borrowing and analogy has extended the context of emphatic variants outside of the original conditioning environment, resulting in a pattern of contrast that approaches phonemic status. Through analysis of interviews with individual speakers, I establish the parameters of phonetic and phonological variation ...


Three Essays On Diabetes And Mortality In The United States, Daesung Choi Jan 2019

Three Essays On Diabetes And Mortality In The United States, Daesung Choi

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Diabetes is on the rise. The world faces an emerging deadly threat on people’s health and nations’ public-health systems with a large economic burden. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014 (WHO, 2016). In the United States, more than 80 million people are living with diabetes or prediabetes and this number is projected to double by 2050 (CDC, 2017).

Diabetes is a serious and life-threatening condition that occurs when the body cannot regulate blood sugar. When diabetes is not appropriately ...


Essays On Foreign Exchange Rates, Xiang Fang Jan 2019

Essays On Foreign Exchange Rates, Xiang Fang

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The foreign exchange rate is one of the most important asset prices in the international financial market. My dissertation studies the determination of exchange rates from the perspective of levered financial institutions and the frictions they are facing. It consists of two chapters that shed light on the importance of levered financial institutions in exchange rate determination.

In Chapter 1, I propose an intermediary-based explanation of the risk premium of currency carry trade in a model with a cross-section of small open economies. In the model, bankers in each country lever up and hold interest-free cash as liquidity buffers against ...


Learning From Positive Evidence: The Acquisition Of Verb Argument Structure, Ava Irani Jan 2019

Learning From Positive Evidence: The Acquisition Of Verb Argument Structure, Ava Irani

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation investigates how children acquire verb argument structure using positive evidence from the linguistic input. I discuss three case studies: the acquisition of raising and control verbs, the acquisition of causatives, and the acquisition of passives. When discussing these case studies, I address previous theories of verb argument structure learning that attempt to account for verb argument structure learning through indirect negative evidence (e.g., Pinker 1989), and I show that these approaches are inadequate in accounting for the developmental trajectory of the learner. Instead, I defend two learning models throughout the dissertation: the Sufficiency Principle (Yang 2016) and ...


Information And International Conflict, Christopher Liu Jan 2019

Information And International Conflict, Christopher Liu

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Information plays a critical role in theories of interstate behavior. This dissertation examines the question: how does domestic politics structure and condition the role of information in international conflict?

In the first essay, I test an observable implication of audience cost theory by exploiting elections as a way to identify variation in the costliness of interstate signaling, under the assumption that election-year threats are more costly than threats made in non-election years. I find evidence consistent with audience cost theory in the behavior of democratic targets, but fail to find similar results for targeted autocracies. The findings overall suggest variation ...


The Role Of Intuitive Arithmetic In Developing Mathematical Skill, Emily Maja Szkudlarek Jan 2019

The Role Of Intuitive Arithmetic In Developing Mathematical Skill, Emily Maja Szkudlarek

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Symbolic mathematics allows humans to represent and describe the logic of the world around us. Although we typically think about math symbolically, humans across the lifespan and a wide variety of animal species spontaneously exhibit numerical competence without reference to formal mathematics. This intuitive ability to approximately compare, estimate, and manipulate large non-symbolic numerical quantities without language or symbols is called the Approximate Number System. The four chapters of this dissertation explore whether non-symbolic, approximate calculation can function as a bridge between our Approximate Number System and symbolic mathematics for children at the beginning of formal math education and university ...


The Political Economy Of Amazon Deforestation: Subnational Development And The Uneven Reach Of The Colombian State, Javier Revelo-Rebolledo Jan 2019

The Political Economy Of Amazon Deforestation: Subnational Development And The Uneven Reach Of The Colombian State, Javier Revelo-Rebolledo

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The recent peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has prompted radical changes in the country’s Amazon region. A decrease in violence has been accompanied by an increase in deforestation, suggesting that good things do not always come together. My dissertation studies the political economy of Amazon deforestation through a cross-disciplinary analysis linking studies of modern state formation with tropical deforestation. As such, it offers an empirically grounded explanation for differential levels of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon. Employing a mixed-methods research strategy, I reviewed historical archives on regional development, interviewed more ...


Attributions Of Mental State Control: Causes And Consequences, Corey Cusimano Jan 2019

Attributions Of Mental State Control: Causes And Consequences, Corey Cusimano

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

A popular thesis in psychology holds that ordinary people judge others’ mental states to be uncontrollable, unintentional, or otherwise involuntary. The present research challenges this thesis and documents how attributions of mental state control affect social decision making, predict policy preferences, and fuel conflict in close relationships. In Chapter 1, I show that lay people by-and-large attribute intentional control to others over their mental states. Additionally, I provide causal evidence that these attributions of control predict judgments of responsibility as well as decisions to confront and reprimand someone for having an objectionable attitude. By overturning a common misconception about how ...


Essays In Heterogeneity In Macroeconomics, Minsu Chang Jan 2019

Essays In Heterogeneity In Macroeconomics, Minsu Chang

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation consists of two chapters that explore how micro-level heterogeneity helps us understand the dynamics of macroeconomic variables. Chapter 2 shows that the evolving likelihood of marriage and divorce is an essential factor in accounting for the changes in housing decisions over time in the United States. I build and estimate a life-cycle model of single and married households who face exogenous age-dependent marital transition shocks and then conduct a decomposition analysis between 1970 and 1995. The results show that household formation shocks could account for about 30% of the increase in the single's homeownership rate and play ...


Essays On Consumer Learning And Its Impact On Firm Strategies, Takeaki Sunada Jan 2019

Essays On Consumer Learning And Its Impact On Firm Strategies, Takeaki Sunada

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In this dissertation, I study how the existence of consumer learning in a digital goods environment influences the profitability of various firm strategies. I develop a structural model of consumer’s learning-by-using. Adopting a Bayesian learning framework, the model describes how product experience influences willingness to pay, and also allows identification of key factors behind learning and quantification of the trade-offs that firms face. I estimate the model using a novel data set of videogame users’ play record. Using the estimated parameters, I first consider the optimal design of free trials. Digital goods providers often offer a trial version of ...


(When) Do Consumers Prefer Uncertainty? Consumers' Reactions To Uncertain Advice And Uncertain Promotions, Celia Gaertig Jan 2019

(When) Do Consumers Prefer Uncertainty? Consumers' Reactions To Uncertain Advice And Uncertain Promotions, Celia Gaertig

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Research has shown that, although uncertainty is often disliked, consumers sometimes seem to prefer uncertainty to certainty. The goal of this dissertation is to further understand the circumstances under which consumers prefer, rather than dislike, uncertainty across different domains. In Chapter 1, we investigate preferences for uncertainty in the domain of advice giving. There is a widespread belief that advisees prefer, and thus reward, advisors who offer certainty, even for events that are inherently uncertain. In contrast, we find that consumers do not dislike, and sometimes prefer, uncertain advice. Specifically, they do not dislike advisors who express uncertainty by providing ...


The Allies Of Others: How Stakeholders’ Relationships Shape Non-Market Strategy, Katarzyna D. Odziemkowska Jan 2019

The Allies Of Others: How Stakeholders’ Relationships Shape Non-Market Strategy, Katarzyna D. Odziemkowska

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This dissertation shifts analytic focus from firm, stakeholder and institutional characteristics as drivers of a firm’s non-market strategy to the fields in which stakeholders are embedded which are characterized by their own social relationships, norms and identities. In so doing, I strive to develop a more socialized view of non-market strategy. The first chapter provides evidence that the identity of stakeholders in their fields and the structure of relations between them can circumscribe firms’ strategic responses to stakeholder conflict that require stakeholder cooperation. The second chapter explores the pathways by which firms attenuate stakeholder threats through an understudied phenomenon ...


The Prevention Of Depression: A Machine Learning Approach, Ashley Ann Fuss Jan 2019

The Prevention Of Depression: A Machine Learning Approach, Ashley Ann Fuss

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Behavioral health disorders, specifically depression, are a serious health concern in the United States and worldwide. The consequences of unaddressed behavioral health conditions are multifaceted and have impact at the individual, relational, communal, and societal level. Despite the number of individuals who could benefit from treatment for behavioral health concerns, their difficulties are often unidentified and unaddressed through treatment. Technology carries unrealized potential to identify people at risk for behavioral health conditions and to inform prevention and intervention strategies. Drawing upon data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health, n=3782), this study has two aims related ...


Assessing Credibility In Subjective Probability Judgment, Joshua Daniel Baker Jan 2019

Assessing Credibility In Subjective Probability Judgment, Joshua Daniel Baker

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Subjective probability judgments (SPJs) are an essential component of decision making under uncertainty. Yet, research shows that SPJs are vulnerable to a variety of errors and biases. From a practical perspective, this exposes decision makers to risk: if SPJs are (reasonably) valid, then expectations and choices will be rational; if they are not, then expectations may be erroneous and choices suboptimal. However, existing methods for evaluating SPJs depend on information that is typically not available to decision makers (e.g., ground truth; correspondence criteria). To address this issue, I develop a method for evaluating SPJs based on a construct I ...


Power, Privilege, And Peril: Governing In A Suburban Majority Black And Middle Class County - A Regional Perspective, Angela Marie Simms Jan 2019

Power, Privilege, And Peril: Governing In A Suburban Majority Black And Middle Class County - A Regional Perspective, Angela Marie Simms

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Blacks’ incorporation into United States (U.S.) society with life chances commensurate with Whites is a centuries-old social challenge. Black-White inequality research from the 1970s forward focused on skills gaps—Blacks’ inability to access educational and employment opportunities—and spatial mismatches—Blacks’ concentration in cities isolating them from opportunity-rich suburbs. The contemporary suburban Black middle class has, in theory, overcome these challenges. To investigate the extent to which this is the case, I asked: Do decisionmakers and residents in a majority Black suburban county have the same experiences as those in majority-White suburban counties? I answer this question through an ...


Essays In Matching Markets, Colin D. Sullivan Jan 2019

Essays In Matching Markets, Colin D. Sullivan

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

I present two experiments exploring failures in matching markets.

In the first experiment, I introduce a new experimental paradigm to evaluate employer preferences, called Incentivized Resume Rating (IRR). Employers evaluate resumes they know to be hypothetical in order to be matched with real job seekers, preserving incentives while avoiding the deception necessary in audit studies. I deploy IRR with employers recruiting college seniors from a prestigious school, randomizing human capital characteristics and demographics of hypothetical candidates. I measure both employer preferences for candidates and employer beliefs about the likelihood candidates will accept job offers, avoiding a typical confound in audit ...


Understanding Donor-Advised Funds: The Behavioral Economics, Macroeconomics, And Public Policies Relating To An Emerging Trend In Philanthropy, H. Daniel Heist Jan 2019

Understanding Donor-Advised Funds: The Behavioral Economics, Macroeconomics, And Public Policies Relating To An Emerging Trend In Philanthropy, H. Daniel Heist

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are changing the mode of philanthropy in the United States. The lack of research on DAFs leaves nonprofit managers and policymakers with little empirical evidence or theoretical framework. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide scholarly research about why people use DAFs, how they function within the nonprofit economy, and what public policies may most effectively address public concerns. To this end, the dissertation is a combination of three peer-reviewed scholarly articles covering these topics. The first article tests behavioral economic concepts relating to charitable giving that help to explain why people use DAFs. The results ...


Identity In The Wake Of The State: Local, National, And Supranational Dynamics Of The Syrian Conflict, Victoria Gilbert Jan 2019

Identity In The Wake Of The State: Local, National, And Supranational Dynamics Of The Syrian Conflict, Victoria Gilbert

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

While much of the civil war literature considers the impact religious or ethnic identities have on the character or duration of conflict, scholars have failed to address why different identities become salient in territories outside the state’s control. Using subnational case studies from the Syrian conflict, I claim that we must consider the interests and character of those actors who strive to attain authority and build governing institutions in the absence of the state. I find that civilian actors are more likely to promote local identities, such as clan, tribal, or city-based identities. Armed groups, however, are more likely ...


Getting The Best Of Us: Multinational Corporate Networks And The Diffusion Of Skill-Selective Immigration Policies, Vivienne Born Jan 2019

Getting The Best Of Us: Multinational Corporate Networks And The Diffusion Of Skill-Selective Immigration Policies, Vivienne Born

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Populist backlash has emerged as an alarming trend shaping immigration policy across the developed world in recent years. At the same time, a less-sensationalized pattern has appeared in the form of policies designed to attract the highly skilled. In the face of so much anti-immigration sentiment, how can we understand this push for global talent? One possibility is that these seemingly divergent agenda are but two sides of the same coin. Policymakers and members of the business community point to labor shortages and a global war for talent as justifications for skill-selective policies. Yet some in the academic community contest ...