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Essays on Microeconomic Theory with Applications in Political and Resource Economics


This dissertation is an exhibition of applied microeconomic theory in political and resource economics. As three examples, I investigate three different questions, respectively: Does polarization of beliefs always intensify political gridlock in collective decision making? Will input-efficiency improvement in water use, e.g., adoption of more-efficient irrigation technologies and investment in water-conveyance systems, definitely decrease the demand for water-storage capacities, e.g., dams and reservoirs? Is collectivism, rather than individualism, generally helping society overcome the collective action problem? Using the game-theory or stochastic-control approach, I theoretically challenge conventional wisdoms about these questions, and illustrate the empirical relevance of my challenges, qualitatively or quantitatively, in different contexts, e.g., the Chinese transition from the planned economy, World War II and Operation Market--Garden, the irrigation water-inventory management of the California State Water Project, and the histories of collective action in China and Europe.

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