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Title: Essays in applied microeconomics
Author: Hensel, Lukas
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 9006
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis consists of three self-contained chapters on topics in applied microeconomics. In Chapter 1 "The Impact of Economic Shocks on Wage Dynamics in Indonesia" I study the impact of negative productivity shocks on agricultural wages in Indonesia. I study whether and when downward nominal wage rigidity prevents labor market adjustments to negative productivity shocks. I provide evidence that the cost to the economy and to agricultural households caused by downward wage rigidities are limited in magnitude. I use transitory labor demand shocks in agricultural labor markets induced by plausibly exogenous rainfall uctuations to show that downward adjustment of nominal wages is a function of the cost of maintaining the nominal wage at the prevailing level. I also develop a theoretical framework with reference-dependent utility over past wages, in line with fairness norms, that is consistent with the observed wage rigidities. In Chapter 2 "Income Shocks and Suicides: Causal Evidence From Indonesia" (coauthored with Cornelius Christian and Chris Roth) we explore the role of income shocks on the prevalence of suicides in Indonesia. We find that a cash transfer program reduces the yearly suicide rate by 0.36 per 100,000 people, corresponding to an 18 percent decrease. To come to this conclusion, we use a difference-in-differences approach, exploiting a cash transfer's nationwide roll-out, and corroborate the findings using a randomized experiment. Agricultural productivity shocks similar to those in Chapter 1 also affect the suicide rate. Encouragingly, the cash transfer program reduces the causal impact of negative agricultural productivity shocks, suggesting an important role for policy interventions. We only observe these effects for households engaged in agricultural production. Finally, we provide evidence for depression as a psychological mechanism through which income shocks affect the suicide rate. In Chapter 3 "Political Activists as Free-Riders: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment" (coauthored with Anselm Hager, Johannes Hermle, and Chris Roth) we explore how a citizen's decision to participate in political activism depends on the participation of others. We examine this core question of collective action in a natural field experiment in collaboration with a major European party during a recent national election. In a seemingly unrelated party survey, we randomly assign canvassers to true information about the canvassing intentions of their peers. We find that treated canvassers significantly reduce both their canvassing intentions and behavior when learning that their peers participate more in canvassing than previously believed.
Supervisor: Quintana-Domeque, Climent ; Quinn, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available