Essays on natural resources and labor economics

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Hoque, Mohammad Mainul
Major Professor
Catherine L. Kling
Peter F. Orazem
Committee Member
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The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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This dissertation consists of five empirical chapters spanning the areas of natural resource economics and labor economics. After a general introduction in chapter one, the next four chapters deal with how households respond to exogenous changes to economic opportunities such as shocks to employment or to life expectancy at birth. The fifth chapter investigates the linkage between agricultural management and ecosystem services. The dissertation makes extensive use of household survey data, both from the US and from a large number of cross-country surveys. The first two chapters show that unemployment during recessions may lower households’ recreation expenditure but increase households’ participation in local outdoor recreation activities. The findings from the third and fourth chapters suggest that rising life expectancy at birth increases years in school as well as lifetime earnings, which reinforces the role of health in economic development. The final chapter provides an estimate of the environmental benefits associated with the set of agricultural conservation practices identified in Iowa nutrient reduction Strategy 2013. The economic value from local recreation and aesthetics, drinking water purification, reduced soil erosion, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are sizable and under some assumptions are of same order of magnitude as the estimated costs.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015