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Essays on Infrastructure, Firm Productivity, Natural Disaster and Life Course Transition in South Asia

Ahmed, Riaz

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The dissertation consists of two main parts. Part I comprises Chapter 2 which discusses the effect of natural disasters on one of the life course transitions, marriage, in Pakistan. Part II analyzes the association of infrastructure with firm productivity. This part comprises two chapters: Chapter 3 studies the conditional correlation social infrastructure (i.e. health and education) with firm productivity and Chapter 4 analyses the correlation between physical infrastructure (i.e. electricity) and firm productivity by taking Pakistan and South Asia respectively as case studies.

Chapter 2 examines the causal effect of the flood on marriages in flood affected households compared to marriages in unaffected households by utilizing the 2010 Pakistani flood as a type of natural experiment. A difference-in-difference approach based on a district and province-year fixed effects model is used to estimate the impact of the flood on individual marital life. The goal of this paper is twofold. First, it investigates an overall impact of the flood on marriage rate in the flooded districts compared to non-flooded districts, and second, it further scrutinizes the effect, if any, on individual marriage behavior based on geographic (rural vs. urban) and gender (male vs. female) sample distribution. Results show that the July 2010 Pakistani flood decreased marriage rate in flooded districts immediately during the disaster (2010-11) which discontinued from the second (2012-13) to the fourth (2014-15) years following the flood. Geographic location matters a lot for such type of natural disasters. In this study, the negative impact of the flood on marital life is significantly, both economically and statistically, higher for rural individuals than urban ones.

Chapter 3 empirically investigates the conditional correlation between social infrastructure indicators at district level and firm productivity by using a firm level dataset from Pakistan. Further, I split my sample into rural and urban regions to capture the effect of regional disparities in investment in social goods while controlling for a potential selection bias from firms’ decision to locate in regions with better infrastructure equipment. My findings reveal that indicators of health infrastructure, conditional on various control, are positively and correlated with firm output in manufacturing industries in Pakistan. However, these results hold only for health infrastructure in urban regions of a district. For rural regions, both health and education infrastructure show insignificant relationship with firm productivity.

The purpose of Chapter 4 is to investigate the association of electricity infrastructure with firm productivity in South Asian countries based on a firm level dataset from the World Bank enterprise surveys. In the study both subjective-qualitative and subjective-quantitative measures are utilized for measuring the electricity infrastructure. Either measures, electricity as an obstacle (qualitative measure) or sales losses due to power outages (quantitative measure), are negatively correlated with firm productivity. However, the qualitative measures captured the effect more than the quantitative ones. The relationship between variable of interest and outcome variable, based on different robustness checks, appears to be robust.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Klonner, Prof. Dr. Stefan
Date of thesis defense: 23 June 2017
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2017 12:02
Date: 2017
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies > Alfred-Weber-Institut for Economics
Subjects: 330 Economics
370 Education
670 Manufacturing
Controlled Keywords: Firm Productivity, Infrastructure, Natural Disaster
Uncontrolled Keywords: Life Course Transitions, Marriage, Natural Disasters, Flood, Firm Productivity, Social Infrastructure, Health and Education, Electricity Infrastructure, South Asia, Pakistan
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