Three Essays in Applied Microeconomics: Evaluating Pathways to Improving the Human Condition

Vilma Sielawa

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Chapter one examines the long-term impact of the state prohibitions of alcohol in the United States. Between 1851 and 1920, thirty-four states enacted statewide prohibitions of alcohol at different times. Making use of the variation in state prohibition as a natural experiment, the long-term labor market outcomes of cohorts exposed to state prohibition during the critical early development period is examined. Female cohorts exposed to alcohol-reduced environments during the critical interval from the prenatal period and up to three years of age are shown to have increased labor force participation and increased income in 1960. The results are mainly driven by exposure in the prenatal period. No results were found for male cohorts, which might be explained by the selective prenatal mortality of the frailest male cohort members unexposed to state prohibition. Chapter two provides an impact evaluation of the Brazilian National Land Credit Program. Making use of a panel dataset and a pipeline control group, the chapter evaluates the impact of the program on the outcome variables of agricultural production and earned income, using both difference in differences and individual fixed effects models. Because beneficiaries acquired land at different times, the heterogeneous effect of additional years of land ownership is investigated. The findings suggest that the program is successful in increasing beneficiaries' agricultural production and earned income, but only after four years of land ownership. Once the repayment of the loan is taken into consideration, however, the benefits of the program largely go to making debt payments and improving the net worth of the beneficiaries rather than to raising current household expenditures. Chapter three evaluates the impact of the Brazilian National Land Credit Program on the heights of beneficiary children. Making use of a family fixed effects model, the program is shown to significantly increase the height for age z-scores of beneficiary children exposed to parents' land ownership in the second, third or fourth year of life. The increases in height for age z-scores are likely attained through the mechanism of increased nutritional security with the acquisition of land through the program.

Original languageAmerican English
Awarding Institution
  • Economics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Business
  • Economics

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