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Three essays on international trade and economic development


This dissertation is composed of three self-contained chapters on international trade and economic development, with a special focus on the involvement of the government or public-funded sectors. The first chapter investigates international trade of higher education, specifically its impact on native students and native workers in the exporting country. Theoretically, I show that, in a general equilibrium model with non-profit publicly- subsidized higher education providers (HEPs) that care about both education quality and the enrollment of native students, serving foreign students may improve natives' access to higher education, which eventually benefits all native workers. Empirically, I find that, during the period 2001 to 2007, the enrollment of one more foreign student in an Australian university leads to the enrollment of around 0.75 more native students in this university. The impact is identified using an instrumental variable, generated from the interaction between demand for Australian higher education from different countries during the sample period and student networks these countries had in different Australian HEPs during 1989 to 1994. The second chapter studies commercial development in the presence of economic agglomeration of commercial goods and services, a result of consumers' love of varieties and transportation costs associated with commercial consumption. I show that a low-income community may be under-served with commercial goods and services because a developer cannot capture all the profits of a commercial project. A block grant to a developer can solve the market failure and generate a total profit bigger than the grant. Employment tax abatements alone are much less effective and much more costly. The third chapter examines the long- run impact of trade in higher education. In an overlapping generation (OG) model with a higher education sector composed of non-profit research institutions and for- profit teaching institutions, I show that importing teaching services benefits low-ability individuals by increased number of research workers in production, and that it may also benefit high-ability individuals by providing better training to skilled workers to complement research workers

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