Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation is to connect empirical findings with grounded theoretical analysis on two economic issues. One of the studies investigates industrial productivity by fitting in a theoretical model with quantitative methods. In addition, I explore how a demographic policy in China brings forth a profound impact in all aspects of the fast-growing economy.

The first chapter, ``Casual Labor, Uncertainty, and Technology Adoption in Agriculture," examines why both the technology adoption rate and labor productivity in agriculture are low in the context of developing countries. A two-stage model is built to explain how the availability of casual (non-permanent) labor ex-post, in the presence of uncertainty may affect agents' ex-ante technology choices. A higher degree of uncertainty induces the agents to choose traditional production technology that relies heavily on the labor input instead of using any modern intermediate inputs. By calibrating the model to fit the micro data in Tanzania, I show that this proposed framework can be used to account for two targets of interest: low aggregate labor productivity and the low technology adoption rate. Counterfactual exercises suggest that the severity of uncertainty before the harvest stage and the abundance of casual labor are the potential drivers for the two targets to be explained.

The second chapter, ``Growth in a Patrilocal Economy: Female Schooling, Household Savings, and China's One-Child Policy," is co-authored Wei-Cheng Chen. We develop a model of parental education decision to analyze how a population control policy affects saving and schooling in a patrilocal society, where sons are responsible to support aged parents more than daughters. Parent's investment in education depends on the degree of parental altruism and the need for old-age security. A tightened population control policy makes parental altruism more important relative to the security motive and shortens gender gap in education. We also take another crucial intergenerational incentive for daughter's education into account, since lower fertility promotes female labor market participation and increases the value of female education. Our model explains why the Chinese economy under the ``One-Child Policy'' exhibits a rapid growth of relative female schooling. Moreover, this chapter also articulates the relationship between household savings and demographic changes based on a general equilibrium analysis, which has been discussed extensively in recent years to explain the China's saving puzzle.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ping Wang

Committee Members

Juan Pantano, Yongseok Shin, YiLi Chien


Permanent URL:

Included in

Economics Commons