Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Tollison, Robert D
The first essay provides a theoretical framework that informs the ongoing debate regarding the effect of conservation easement subsidies on local property tax revenue. Supporters claim that conservation easements increase property tax revenue by providing environmental amenities that increase the value of adjacent properties. Critics argue that they decrease property tax revenue by lowering land values and shrinking the tax base. In instances when local property tax revenue decline due to the income tax deductibility of conservation easements, the decline is larger when the demand for land is more elastic, the proportion of non-agricultural land in the county is larger, the agricultural tax benefit is larger, and there is less Ricardian rent on agricultural land.
The second essay examines the role of political parties in affecting presidential control and congressional oversight of antitrust enforcement. The Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust is a presidential appointee who carries out the administration's desired level of antitrust enforcement. Congressional legislators have oversight and appropriations powers over the Antitrust Division. I assume that Democratic and Republican legislators have different preferences about the proper level of appropriations for the Antitrust Division. In spite of these presidential party control and congressional oversight relationships, I do not find any political effect on the number of antitrust cases filed from 1903 to 2005. My result suggests that Division bureaucrats have wide discretion in case selection and are independent of the influence of the White House and the Congress.
The third essay studies the effect of a change in the sex ratio of males to females on the relative price of human sexual relations. The illegitimate birth rate is used as an instrument for the price of sexual relations. The reduction in the number of available sex partners for women during World War II decreased the price that remaining men had to pay for sex. One result of this lower price is an increase in the number of illegitimate children born during the war. The male scarcity also resulted in females marrying less suitable males who are different from their wives in terms of age, educational attainment, and real income.
Yeoh, Melissa, "Three Essays in Political Economy" (2007). All Dissertations. 74.