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Title: Essays on public finance and political economy
Author: Denk, Oliver
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 8496
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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Public policies are an important determinant of the welfare of individuals and the society at large. Economic and political institutions in turn have a powerful influence on the choice of public policies. It is therefore essential to understand the economic consequences of institutional design for policy and by implication welfare. The different chapters of this thesis all combine theoretical, empirical, and numerical methods to analyze the welfare impact of specific economic and political institutions. The two types of institutions that are the focus of my research are social security (Chapter 1) and multi-layer democracies (Chapters 2 and 3). Chapter 1 characterizes the optimal system of disability insurance and retirement programs over the life-cycle, when the government has access to imperfect information on the health of individuals. It then presents estimates of the welfare gains that are to be expected from its implementation. The two subsequent chapters study the role that the national popularity of political parties plays for the provision of public goods and services at the local level and examine the resulting effects on welfare. Chapter 2 illustrates how such national swings shape the composition of the local legislature and, to the extent that members of different parties have different policy preferences, distort policies. Chapter 3, in contrast, shows that the existence of national swings may or may not improve local accountability and hence policy outcomes, depending on the degree of political competition that would otherwise prevail in the sub-national entities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available