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Category Archives: O11

What Fosters Innovation? A CrossSectional Panel Approach to Assessing the Impact of Cross Border Investment and Globalization on Patenting Across Global Economies

By Michael Dessau and Nicholas Vega

This study considers the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on innovation in high income, uppermiddle  income and lowermiddle income countries. Innovation matters because it is a critical factor for economic growth. In a panel setting, this study assesses the degree to which FDI functions as a vehicle for innovation as proxied by scaled local resident patent applications. This study considers research and development (R&D), domestic savings, imports and exports, and quality of governance as factors which could also impact the effectiveness of FDI on innovation. Our results suggest FDI is most effective as inward direct investment in countries outside the technological frontier possessing adequate existing domestic investment capital and R&D spending to convert foreign investment capital and technological spillover into innovation. Nonetheless, FDI was not a consistent indicator for innovation; rather, the most consistent indicators across this study were R&D and domestic savings. Differences amongst income groups are highlighted as well as their varying responses to our array of causal factors.

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Advisor: Lori Leachman | JEL Codes: A10, B22, C82, E00, E02, O10, O11, O30, O31, O32, O33, O34, O43

Faith in the Future and Social Conflict: Economic Growth as a Mechanism for Political Stabilization

By Alexander Bloedel

This paper studies the mechanisms that link sociopolitical conflict and (expectations about) economic prosperity. Motivated by a large body of empirical and historical work on the correlation between economic development and democratization, I develop a game-theoretic model of economic growth with political economy constraints. In an economy where low income agents are credit constrained, rapid and robust economic growth leads to increasing inequality early on, but provides the means to mitigate civil conflict when inequality becomes suciently large. The rate and persistence of growth similarly determines the stability of extant political institutions and the ability to transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Curtis Taylor | JEL Codes: D72, D74, O11, O43 | Tagged: Civil Conflict, Economic Growth, Expectations, Political Economy

After the Storm Impacts of natural disasters in the United States at the state and county level

By Danjie Fang

Empirical research on the impact of natural disasters on economic growth has provided contradictory results and few studies have focused on the United States. In this thesis, I bridge the gap by examining the merits of existing claims on the relationship between natural disasters and growth at the states and county level in the U.S. I find that climatological and geophysical disasters have a small and negative impact on growth rates at the state level, but that this impact disappears over time. At the county level, I find that tornados have a slight but negative impact on per capita GDP levels and growth rates over a five year period across three states that experience this natural phenomenon. Controlling for FEMA aid, I find that there may be upward omitted variable bias in regressions that do not include the amount of aid as a variable. I find evidence that FEMA aid has a small but positive impact on growth and per capita GDP levels at both the county and state level.

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Advisor: Christopher Timmins, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: O11, O40, Q58 | Tagged: Aid, County, FEMA, Natural Disasters, State, United States


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Jennifer Becker

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly