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Essays in development economics: poverty, foreign direct investment and human capital

Amini, C; (2013) Essays in development economics: poverty, foreign direct investment and human capital. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis addresses three keys issues in economic development. The first relates to the interplay between foreign direct investment, institutions and natural resources. The second issue explored is the extent to which economic growth contributes to poverty reduction. The third question relates to the determinants of human capital, as proxied by secondary school grades. I explore the first two points with cross-country panel econometric analysis of developing economies, while for the last I first explore cross section variation and then focus specifically on the case of a middle-income country of transition: Russia. These topics are important not only from a scholarly point of view but also for practical policy purposes. In the first case I find that the presence of natural resources modifies the relationship between FDI and institutions. In particular, higher levels of natural resources, notably oil, mitigate the positive effect of good institutions on the amount of foreign direct investment. If this is the case the usual policy recommendation that improved institutions should attract more foreign investments may not be relevant in resource rich economies. In the second case I find, in line with the literature, that economic growth is an important instrument for poverty reduction. However I extend the literature by showing that a number of factors have a significant effect on the poverty elasticity of growth. The empirical analysis demonstrates how changes in human capital, as measured with health or schooling, have substantial impact on the poverty elasticity of growth. Finally, turning to the determinants of students’ performances, I find that in Russia, as in other countries, educational scores are robustly linked to the characteristics of students' families and schools. In particular, I find some evidence that increased school resources and autonomy have a positive impact on student performance in Russia. This suggests therefore that policy makers can improve student performance by facilitating lower student-teacher ratios and increasing autonomy.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Essays in development economics: poverty, foreign direct investment and human capital
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1384779
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