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Essays in Macroeconomics and Public Economics

Sherpa, Lhakpa (2019) Essays in Macroeconomics and Public Economics. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation contains essays in macroeconomics and public economics. In the first essay, I analyze the interaction between student debt and occupational choice. In recent times, student debt has grown the most among any other types of debt in the US. Student debt can have distortionary behavioral effects and one such effect is in occupational choice. In this paper, I construct a model of occupational choice between being an entrepreneur and a worker and examine how occupational choice is affected by repayment plans available to students. Since entrepreneurship is inherently riskier than becoming a worker, a debt repayment plan that takes into account the income level of the borrower can have an effect on occupational choice. I find that while repayment plans do not change the rate of entrepreneurship in the aggregate, there is substantial change in the composition of entrepreneurs by age.

In the second essay, I study the quantitative effects of the decline in price of investment goods on the process of structural change and economic growth. Using the Korean economy to calibrate a canonical two-sector model of growth, I study labor allocations in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. The model is able to match several features of the economy and has implications for sectoral value-added and employment shares, GDP per capita and investment. In particular, I find that the decline in the price of investment goods decreases the value-added and employment shares in the agricultural sector and increases the level of GDP per capita and investment.

In the third essay, I provide estimates for the elasticity of taxable income with respect to marginal tax rates using the publicly available Current Population Survey (CPS) dataset. In contrast to studies that use datasets on tax returns that are not publicly available, I use the panel structure of the CPS and exploit tax reforms in the US to employ an instrumental variables approach to study how taxable income responds to changes in tax rates. I find that the elasticity of taxable income is 0.65 for married couples.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sherpa, Lhakpalhs9@pitt.edulhs9
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCoen-Pirani,
Committee MemberRipoll,
Committee MemberHur,
Committee MemberShafiq,
Date: 26 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 June 2019
Approval Date: 26 September 2019
Submission Date: 12 July 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 91
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: PhD Dissertation
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 12:53
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2019 12:53


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