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علم تجربی رفتار اقتصادی: آزمون نظریه های مشارکت، ارزش گذاری و نوآوری
The Experimental Science of Economic Behavior: Testing Theories of Participation, Valuation, and Innovation
Agricultural production takes place in the presence of a complex web of institutional and market settings that can create countervailing incentives for producers. Economists have long been concerned with understanding the causal mechanisms driving producer decision-making and behavior. Experimental methods provide one way to disentangle the effects of specific policies and interventions on economic and producer behavior. This dissertation leverages experimental methods to better understand producer behavior in areas of stakeholder participation, technology valuation, and agricultural innovation.
In essay 1, we design an experiment to identify the marginal impact of a comment mechanism on individual public goods provision. First, we introduce a novel comment mechanism where individuals can provide unstructured feedback to influence a third-party rule-maker whose sole task is to determine a minimum contribution rule (MCR) at the beginning of the game. Second, we implement a costly probabilistic sanctioning mechanism for individuals who do not contribute at least the MCR to the public good. Our results suggest that when the exogenous enforcement mechanism is present, the comment-based participation mechanism has a large positive effect on players’ contributions to the public good and on their compliance with the MCR. The comment-based participation mechanism has a large positive effect on the MCR set by the rule-maker; players, in turn, respond to an increase in the MCR by making larger contributions to the public good. Overall, comment-based participation mechanisms have similar effects on contribution levels to those of nonbinding voting mechanisms.
Essay 2 contributes to the broader literature on extension services and farmer valuation of new technologies. We use a Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism to elicit farmer WTP for new bean seed technologies under two different lead-farmer extension treatments in Tanzania. The first treatment uses the planting of demonstration plots to showcase the new technologies within a village. The second treatment includes the same demonstration plot approach but adds the distribution of trial packs of the improved inputs that allow some farmers to test the technologies on their own plots of land. Despite successfully raining awareness of new agricultural technologies, our results suggest that neither extension treatment significantly affects WTP for the improved bean technologies we consider. Additionally, we find that farmers are willing to pay more for bean seeds that are pre-treated than for those they have to treat at home suggesting that lead-farmer extension might deliver more value through the provision of basic services than in demonstration roles.
Essay 3 tests the effects of increased rates of technological innovation on technology adoption behavior. Using a lab experiment, we implement high and low innovation rate treatments to test for behavioral effects on the probability of adopting a new technology and the number of technologies adopted. Our decision environment incorporates technologies that generate stochastic returns, partial irreversibility through fixed arrival costs, and uncertain arrivals and returns to future innovations. We find mixed results for the effect of increased rates of innovation as a driver of delay. Participants in the high innovation rate treatment group are more likely to adopt a new technology as soon as it arrives and are less likely to continue using a current technology within a given round. However, when comparing across a common set of technologies, subjects in the high innovation treatment adopt fewer innovations overall.
مقالاتی در تاریخ اقتصاد و سیاست اقتصادی در طول استاندارد طلای بین دو جنگ
Essays in the History of Economics and Economic Policy During the Interwar Gold Standard
This dissertation consists of three essays that study the methodological reorientation in economic theory between the two World Wars by considering the interplay between the formulation of economic ideas and policy making process. The first essay examines and compares the opposing policy views of Knut Wicksell (1851-1926) and Gustav Cassel (1866-1945) over the attempt to restore the gold standard in Sweden in the early 1920s. It argues that although both economists recognized the increasing power of central banks to regulate the domestic price level was incompatible with the gold standard rules, the basic assumptions of their monetary theories and their respective worldviews were severely called into question by the new monetary conditions heightened by the Great War. The second essay explores the changing economic conditions in Mexico after the Mexican Revolution and Great Depression to clarify the novelty of the fiscal and monetary policy responses implemented by Alberto J. Pani (1878-1955), who was the Finance Minister during two terms between 1923-1927 and 1932-1933. The paper argues that despite his deep ideological leanings towards positivism and liberal economic ideas, Pani was a very pragmatic individual whose engineering background proved quite useful to address effectively important monetary issues involving the reconstruction of the Mexican fiscal and financial system. It also provides an analysis of the organizational changes of the Banco de Mexico to explain the ability of the monetary authorities to achieve a rather smooth transition to paper currency after the Depression by considering the implications of Pani’s reforms. The third paper reconsiders the historic relevance of Richard F. Kahn’s (1899-1989) Fellowship Dissertation on The Economics of the Short Period (1989). The paper argues that Kahn’s dissertation raises important issues to explain the actual behavior of firms in a depressed industry and represents a key contribution to understand the origins of imperfect competition. It also situates his work in the context of the literature on imperfect competition which emerge in the 1930s, comparing Kahn’s insights with the classic works of Joan Robinson (1933) and Edward Chamberlin (1933). One of the distinctive features of Kahn is that he relies on the idea of imperfect competition to explain the short-time policy exhibited by the cotton and coal industries in Great Britain in the 1920s. Moreover, Kahn’s analysis of the industries’ problems suggests that a substantial degree of imperfect competition has a beneficial effect upon the performance of firms during an economic slump. The paper concludes that despite important new insights derived by Kahn's analysis to measure the degree of imperfect competition in these industries, his analysis remained anchored to the main tenets of the Marshallian analytical apparatus, which seems to have limited the scope for understanding the full nature of the actual process of competition.