233 Works

Formal explorations in collective and individual rationality

Alexandru Marcoci
This thesis addresses several questions regarding what rational agents ought to believe and how they ought to act. In the first part I begin by discussing how scientists contemplating several mutually exclusive theories, models or hypotheses can reach a rational decision regarding which one to endorse. In response to a recent argument that they cannot, I employ the tools of social choice theory to offer a ‘possibility result’ for rational theory choice. Then I utilize...

Robustness, evidence, and uncertainty: an exploration of policy applications of robustness analysis

Nicolas Wüthrich
Policy-makers face an uncertain world. One way of getting a handle on decision-making in such an environment is to rely on evidence. Despite the recent increase in post-fact figures in politics, evidence-based policymaking takes centre stage in policy-setting institutions. Often, however, policy-makers face large volumes of evidence from different sources. Robustness analysis can, prima facie, handle this evidential diversity. Roughly, a hypothesis is supported by robust evidence if the different evidential sources (such as observations...

Essays on development economics and Japanese economic history

Junichi Yamasaki
This thesis consists of three independent chapters on development economics and Japanese economic history. The first chapter analyzes the effect of railroad construction in the Meiji period (1868–1912) on technology adoption and modern economic development. By digitizing a novel data set that measures the use of steam engines at the factory level and determining the cost-minimizing path between destinations as an identification strategy, I find that railroad access led to the increased adoption of steam...

The geography of firm internationalisation in Germany: exploring domestic and foreign heterogeneity across regions and sectors

David Nguyen
The present thesis explores the internationalisation of firms in relation to regionsector characteristics. We focus on outward investment by German firms and classify the heterogeneity across firms, regions and sectors, as well as foreign destinations. The thesis is structured in 5 chapters: a general introduction, followed by 3 empirical chapters and a final conclusion. In the introductory chapter we provide a general conceptual framework and selective review of the literature. Our starting point is that...

Essays in urban & development economics

Nathalie Picarelli
This thesis consists of four independent chapters on urban and development economics. Chapter 1 looks at the issue of distance and labour outcomes in urban areas of a developing country. It studies the effect of a housing relocation program on the labour supply and living conditions of low-income households across major cities in South Africa. For this, I use four waves of panel microdata collected between 2008 and 2014, and I exploit the arbitrary eligibility...

Titans of the early world: celtic ideas and national thought in Britain, Ireland, and France, 1700-1900

Ian Stewart
This thesis provides a coherent history of Celtic ideas in the modern era. Combining intellectual and cultural history in a transnational framework, it has two main aims. The first is to chart the transformation of perceptions of the Celts from those of a sought-after European ancestor to those of a marginalised people living on the ‘fringes’ of western Europe over the longue durée of 1700-1900. The second aim is to illustrate the wider intellectual, cultural,...

Bringing about equality

Christopher Marshall
Sometimes people ought to do something for the sake of equality but it would be wrong to force them to do it. Contrariwise, sometimes it would be permissible to force people to do something for the sake of equality but it is unclear whether they ought to do it without coercion. This gives rise to moral obstacles to redistributing benefits and burdens in unequal situations of different degrees and kinds. In these situations, what are...

The politics of space: negotiating tenure security in a Nairobi slum

Sheila Wanjiru Kamunyori
Slum upgrading is a planning intervention where the state, in the process of upgrading an informal space, is seen as delivering tenure security to the residents in that space. This dissertation investigates the making legible of an informal space in Nairobi by analysing the processes and outcomes of a slum upgrading project and the consequent impact on tenure security. Using a qualitative, case study approach, I begin by analysing the production of the Korogocho slum...

A Politics of the People

Joel Pearce
The 2016 US presidential election saw Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both being described as “populists”, despite running for different parties and coming from different political traditions. This paper empirically assesses the validity of this claim by conducting computer-assisted thematic analysis of their speeches during the presidential primaries. It explores the puzzle of populism being associated with diverse political positions by mapping out the candidates’ discourse, finding that both used populist themes but in strikingly...

Claims to orphanhood

Maja Haals Løndorf
Based on 16 consecutive months of fieldwork with children, their families and communities, this thesis explores the lives, experiences and perspectives of children, young people and their families who live in northwestern Rwanda and have experienced many hardships. In the context of war, genocide, migration and flight, it examines children and young people’s experiences of, as well as the social dynamics pertaining to, parental death or absence. The analysis addresses a key underlying question that...

Adjusting for unobserved and observed heterogeneity in survey-based performance indicators

Juliette Nicola Malley
This thesis is concerned with the statistical adjustment of survey-based indicators to account for unobserved and observed sources of heterogeneity. Recent years have seen a growth in the use of survey-based indicators to measure performance, but questions have been raised over their legitimacy due to high levels of nonresponse, particularly among certain groups, and the influence of factors unrelated to organisational performance, which complicate their interpretation. In light of this, this thesis uses a range...

The Influence of Societal Structure and the Impact of Legal Regulation on Corporate Social Responsibility:

Prin Shasiharan
Cross-national comparative work of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a relatively novel concept, and has been regarded as an area of corporate law that remains largely “emergent”. While studies on comparative corporate governance and academic critiques on the notion of CSR have been advanced since the 1950s, corporations have only recently begun to employ comparative studies of CSR to develop their strategic management and improve their corporate social performance. This paper considers two phenomenon: first,...

Three essays on firms and international trade

Hanwei Huang
The first chapter of the thesis investigates the resilience of Chinese manufacturing importers to supply chain disruptions by exploiting the 2003 SARS epidemic as a natural experiment. I show both in theory and empirics that geographical diversification is crucial in building a resilient supply chain. I also find that reduction in trade costs induces firms to further diversify. Connectivity to the transportation network facilitates diversification in input sourcing and reduces the negative impact of SARS....

Essays on peer effects in social groups and information misperception.

Manuel Staab
This thesis consists of three chapters. Chapter 1 develops a model that studies the interaction of two forces in the formation of social groups: the preference for high quality peers and the desire for status among one’s peers. I present a characterization of fundamental properties of equilibrium group structures in a perfect information, simultaneous move game when group membership is priced uniformly and cannot directly depend on type. While equilibrium groups generally exhibit some form...

Investigating the dynamic nature of psychological contracts:

Ceren Erdem
My thesis examines how employees’ psychological contracts form and evolve over time conjointly with their social network ties. It comprises three separate papers, one conceptual and two empirical, written with the purpose of capturing the antecedents of psychological contracts through pre-entry expectations and social relationships of newcomers. Paper 1 is a conceptual piece that theorizes the concurrent formation of newcomers’ social relationships and psychological contracts from a sensemaking perspective. I develop propositions explaining how newcomers...

Community as idea and community practices:

Helen Traill
In an era of ‘community empowerment’ and the devolution of welfare responsibilities to local groups, it is important to understand what community comes to mean in everyday life. Through two growing projects in Glasgow, this thesis discusses such meanings in local processes of exclusion and urban land development, and uses the sites to explore too the politics of collective growing. To do so, I consider the meanings, tensions and contradictions that emerge between the practices...

Interstate resource conflicts:

Luka Bareis
This work sets out to investigate the effects of natural resource conditions on interstate conflict. It is specifically concerned with understanding when states pursue a violent natural resource acquisition strategy and what the main factors explaining the choice between violent and non-violent resource acquisitions by states are. It has been hypothesized that conditions of natural resource scarcity and foreign resource concentrations have an impact on the conflict propensity of states; and furthermore, that the network...

Essays on the economics of energy efficiency policies

Albert Brue Perez
This work presented in this thesis aims to provide a better understanding of how agents respond to policy incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements. First of all, the way agents respond to policy incentives crucially depends on heterogeneity in characteristics determining their responsiveness to taxes and subsidies. Second, agents’ heterogeneous responses to policy can undermine the cost-effectiveness of subsidies. Third, under conditions where the policy targeting is poor or agents are not very responsive to...

Regional consequences of demographic change:

Paula Prenzel
Demographic change represents the defining trend in population development of the 21st century on a global, national, and regional level. Although some countries are yet to see its impacts, others, such as Germany, have already begun experiencing the effects of demographic change. Sub-replacement level fertility since the 1970s coupled with increases in life expectancy have slowed German population growth and cause pronounced shifts in the age composition. These changes are even more noticeable on a...

Local government taxation and accountability in Mexico

Caroline Pöschl
The taxation-accountability theory broadly states that if governments are dependent on taxation, they will become less corrupt and more accountable to citizens. The need to raise tax revenue is said to spark incentives that lead to mutually beneficial bargaining between government and citizens. Citizens agree to make tax payments in return for more accountable governance and increased influence in government decision-making. Several scholars have shown empirical evidence in support of this taxationaccountability theory at the...

Managing local-global knowledge encounters:

Clare Coultas
This thesis develops a social psychological approach for the study of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) aimed at youth in contexts of ‘precarity’ (Butler 2009) where wider political systems structure differential experiences of insecurity and marginalisation (e.g. widespread poverty, high HIV prevalence, gender inequality, generational differences). It emphasises the need for greater analytical focus on how change interventions are actualised, from conception through to evaluation. It argues that current framings of CSE in such settings, reify...

A sociological analysis of top incomes and wealth:

Katharina Maria Hecht
While economic research has demonstrated that the richest 1 percent in terms of income (and to a lesser extent in terms of wealth) in the UK have increased their relative advantage since the 1980s, there is little empirical research on how these individuals perceive changes in economic inequality (Chin, 2014). Following in the tradition of research on ‘elite’ perceptions of inequality (Reis and Moore, 2005), my research investigates how economic inequality, measured by top income...

Ideology in the age of mediatized politics:

Angelos Kissas
This thesis seeks to explore the place and role of ideology in political communication under conditions of mediatization. Exploring the place of ideology, as I will argue, involves exploring the ways political meaning is produced through the mediatic practices of personalisation, conversationalisation and dramatisation, while exploring its role involves exploring the ways political power is exercised through these practices. Particularly, the thesis builds upon an analytics of mediatization according to which ideology lies in, the...

Law embodied

Sally Shinan Zhu
In this thesis I critique the modern tendency to construct the legal subject upon a sharp distinction between Reason and body and to ground the normative force of law on an ideal conception of Reason. The legal subject is thereby presented as a disembodied cogitans to the neglect of his corporeality. This disregards both the necessarily material aspect of the legal subject and the necessarily embodied aspect of legal action, and results in an inadequate...

Pacta Sunt Servanda:

Florence Eicher
The contractual remedy of disgorgement damages has increasingly gained acceptance in international legal practice. Disgorgement of profits can result from a situation in which contractual breach is incentivised due to its financial superiority, ie profitability, over the proper fulfilment of the initial contract. In this situation, the aggrieved party can raise a claim for disgorgement damages, meaning it can claim the profits that the breaching party has made as a result of the breach. This...

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