Essays in development economics

Marijke Bos

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This dissertation consists of three chapters in the field of Development Economics. The first chapter examines the saving and investment decisions of self-employed farming households in Indonesia. Using an instrumental variables strategy, with local rainfall as an instrument for farm profit, no evidence was found to confirm that – compared to the more wealthy households - initially poor households have a larger income elasticity of consumption and invest a smaller fraction of savings in productive high-risk assets. In fact, there is no evidence that farmers, poor or rich, invest their farm profits in productive capital.
The second chapter examines the incidence of productivity spillovers in India. It is often argued that the positive effects of policies or institutional reforms on the productivity of firms are amplified by spillovers to other firms. Using the externally imposed tariff reductions in the early 1990s as an exogenous source of variation, the chapter tests for spillovers arising from observation, labor mobility and intermediate input use. On average, there is no evidence for TFP spillovers between Indian manufacturing firms after trade liberalization. However, initially productive firms seem to benefit from TFP increases in other highly productive firms located in their vicinity, suggesting that a minimum level of absorptive capacity is necessary for benefiting from spillovers.
The third chapter examines whether access to imported intermediate inputs affects product innovation in five developing counties (Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). There is evidence that the number of newly imported varieties has a significantly positive and sizable impact on product innovations that use new inputs; in particular, innovations for which a new input is an essential feature. Given the large and arguably exogenous expansion of the number of Chinese firms exporting to the five developing countries, the chapter also analyzes the effect of firm-varieties from China on product innovation in the five developing countries. There is evidence in favor of a positive correlation, but a causal relationship cannot be confirmed
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Meijdam, Lex, Promotor
  • Vannoorenberghe, Gonzague, Co-promotor
Award date10 Apr 2017
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs978 90 5668 509 6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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