Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Economics

Advisor

Dougan, William R

Committee Member

Fleck , Robert K

Committee Member

Mityakov , Sergey

Abstract

Each of the three chapters of this dissertation makes a unique contribution to the fields of public finance or corporate finance. In chapter one I show that tax-price is increasing in workplace risk due to a positive wage-risk response that is observed in the labor supply price for hazardous industries. This result implies that, holding human capital constant, workers in more dangerous industries will demand a relatively smaller public sector. I test this with county-level data on fatality rates and support for the two major party candidates in the 2004 US Presidential election. Taking Republicans to represent the party of limited government I find that industry fatality rates remain positive and significant drivers of support for smaller government through various regression specifications. These results are robust to cross-sectional data on individual contributions reported to the Federal Elections Commission for the 2004, 2008, and 2012 US Presidential elections and to panel data for individual contributions across the US Presidential elections in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Chapter two uses the above panel data to test whether political support is influenced by location. For the subsample of individuals who move across states between elections, and taking the first difference in percent of votes for the Republican between the new state in time t and the old state in time t-1 as the independent variable of interest, I find that donors who previously supported the Democrat are more likely to switch to the Republican when moving to a state where support for the Republican is greater than before, and vice versa. In chapter three, I present an event study of the Castle Bravo nuclear test, recreating a paper by Armen Alchian that was conducted, confiscated, and destroyed at RAND Corp. in 1954. Even though its use was secret at time and the effects were only theoretical, Castle Bravo innovated the use of lithium deuteride fusion fuel, and the market price of Lithium Corp, the main producer of lithium at the time, saw a return of 28.2% in the month following the test and a return of 461% for the year, providing evidence that even military secrets may be reflected in the prices of publicly-traded companies.

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