Graduate Thesis in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School
The Effect of Language on Studying Behavior
(In collaboration with Kwame Fynn)
Research in linguistics shows that languages differ in the way they require their speakers to signify when and how they mark future time. As a consequence, it has been argued that the salience of the future and time discount rates differ systemically across populations which speak different languages. Consistent with these results, Chen (2011) provides evidence that savings rates are significantly higher among populations that speak weak future time reference languages. Building on the work of Chen, this paper examines whether language affects the investment made in education by a sample of individuals collected from an online survey. We find that individuals who don't distinguish grammatically between the present and future periods exhibit more future-oriented studying behavior in that they earn a higher rate of return (in terms of academic performance) on their effort and begin studying earlier for exams.
Can Embezzlement Explain the Size of the Informal Sector in an Economy?
This paper is a research proposal aimed for a potential PhD dissertation at the graduate level. I develop a DSGE model aimed at testing the hypothesis that consumers choose the division of labor between the formal and informal sectors based on historical observations of levels of office rent (embezzlement) in an economy.
On the Economic Applications of Brouwer's and Kakutani's Fixed Point Theorems: General Equilibrium and Game Theory
This paper revisits the famous applications of fixed point theorems in Economics. We begin our analysis with the study of Brouwer's and Kakutani's n-dimensional Fixed Point Theorems and their respective proofs. This paper shows the role of the previous two theorems in the proofs of the existence of General Equilibrium and Nash Equilibrium respectively.
Does Democracy Help Mitigate the Effect of Corruption on Economic Growth?
This paper investigates the notion that an increase in the level of democracy in an economy would improve the ability of oversight institutions resulting from democratic processes in their ability to prevent or limit corrupt activities in an economy and their effect on economic growth. This paper uses panel data for 74 countries in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and South America between the years 1999-2009. Previous literature investigates the effect of corruption and democracy on economic growth independently. This paper finds that on a global basis an increase in the level of democracy worsens the effect of corruption on economic growth. On a regional basis an increase in the level of democracy worsens the effect of corruption on economic growth in Africa, Asia, MENA, and South America while an increase in the level of democracy alleviates the effect of corruption on economic growth only in Central & Eastern Europe.
The Riemann Hypothesis and Approximating the Number of Primes
I became passionate about number theory due to a course on this subject that I took in Fall 2010 by David Bressoud. I took a special interest in the Riemann Hypothesis and how it relates to approximating prime numbers. This interest culminated in the following capstone presentation that was presented on April 17, 2013. This presentation received the annual award for the best capstone presentation from the Mathematics department at Macalester College.
The Effects of the Great Recession on the Private Equity Industry
(In collaboration with Kwame Fynn)
In this paper, we explore how the industry has evolved since 2008 by examining how the financial crisis has affected the use leverage, changes in the size of funds, performance, fees and the increasing role of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Other topics discussed include changes in capital raising, investment strategies, and the effects of the political exposure of the industry.