Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Economics

Major Professor

Matthew N. Murray

Committee Members

Robert A. Bohm, William S. Neilson, Phillip Daves

Abstract

The first essay constitutes a theory which lends truth to the Kuznets hypothesis. The attention is centered on the role of financial markets in defining the process of knowledge accumulation, and ultimately the distribution of income earning capabilities in a population of ex ante heterogeneous individuals. The provision of credit is hindered by one-sided lack of commitment embedded in the area of educational investment. Adaptation in the legislative system to accommodate a punishment scheme conditional on default is the critical requirement for the economy to be carried on a dynamic growth path, albeit one of higher and worsening inequality. Owing to the accumulation of human capital and the associated externality on future generations’ knowledge productivity, the economy ultimately makes its transition to a state of lower income differentials.

The second essay is an enquiry on the role of monetary policy in determining the growth dynamics of a small open economy. We postulate that the possibility of intermediated credit does not exist, the intention of the assumption being to uncover the role of inflation as tax on private spending. The analysis brings a valid argument of the superneutrality of money. Inflation when operating as consumption tax has no impact on the growth rate of output. This is established irrespective of the labor supply be held fixed, or incorporated as endogenous decision. When imitating the role of capital taxation, inflationary policy has a negative effect on capital accumulation in a framework of fixed labor supply. However, the validity of the superneutrality result is once again reestablished in an environment accommodating the endogeneity of labor supply.

The third essay is a theoretical investigation of the long-run effects of tax and expenditure policies in an open economy framework. The aim is to establish an analytic basis for the factual evidence associated with the non-monotonic response of the current account to fiscal shocks. To this endeavor we sought two sources of time non-separability in the preference structure, habit-forming consumption in consumer durable goods. Optimal private choices induce non-monotonic dynamics on consumption behavior that are exactly consistent with the evidence on the current account.

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