Essays on Regional, Resource and Public Economics
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My dissertation consists of three essays that combine theories and empirical analysis from natural resource economics, regional economics, spatial economics, development economics, and public economics. In the first essay of my dissertation, I examine the impact of mineral resource extraction (MRE) on the U.S. local labor market, and local economic development using county level data between 1970 and 2012. I use difference-in-difference methodology and spatial modeling to incorporate spatial heterogeneity and dependence among U.S. local areas that are in close geographical proximity. The results show that MRE industry employment grew faster during boom periods and slower during the bust period in MRE dependent counties. MRE earnings and earnings per worker grew slower during boom periods and faster during the bust period. The findings provide evidence of negative spatial indirect spillover effects between neighboring counties’ MRE sector labor markets.In my second essay, I analyze the price elasticity of mineral resource products in each of the mineral resource extractive industries’ labor markets in Canada’s provinces. I estimate the impact of shocks on employment in the mineral resource extraction industry in Canada’s natural resource rich provinces using monthly employment observations for the period January 1990 to December 2012. Estimates show the responsiveness of Canada’s provincial MRE employment to gold price, WTI or Alaska crude oil price fluctuations. Results from a difference-in-difference regression model show a positive growth of employment in Canada’s natural resource rich provinces during boom and bust periods. The results show a significant MRE employment growth in each of Canada’s provinces with more growth in magnitude in MRE dependent provinces. The results for the price effects of minerals show that employment growth was inelastic relative to mineral price changes from 1990 to 2012.My third Chapter examines the cyclicality of public investment in African countries and the spatial spillovers from economic shocks using panel data for the 1996-2012 period. In addition to an overall analysis of the African continent, it also examines public investment in country sub-groups such as the WAEMU, the ECOWAS, the ECCAS, the IGAD, and the SADEC. While the results confirm procyclicality in public investment in Africa, the degree of procyclicality varies significantly across the country groups. Procyclicality becomes less significant when spatial spillovers are considered for WAEMU, ECOWAS, CEMAC, and IGAD countries but it becomes stronger for ECCAS, and particularly SADEC countries.