Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Economics

Major Professor

William S. Neilson

Committee Members

Donald J. Bruce, Jacob S. LaRiviere, Paul R. Armsworth

Abstract

I study three questions which relate to one another only in that each explores facets of economics. First, I theoretically examine the conditions under which introducing an impure public good decreases total public provision. I introduce a central planner who can tax the private good to correct this and identify the market characteristics that typify this scenario. Second, I test the two standard competing dividend puzzle hypotheses using a laboratory experiment. Evidence from the lab, including variables unobservable in the field, reinforces empirical work supporting the outcome model over the substitute. Last, I obscure from dictators information regarding recipients' income sources in a standard laboratory dictator game. When other-regarding dictators are unaware how much of recipients' income is earned relative to luck-borne, they assume recipients are unlucky rather than lazy. This supports the social insurance literature over that on moral wiggle-room.

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