Essays in Political Economy
On Monday 11 May 2020 Ole-Andreas Næss will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend his thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.
Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:
Using Economic Theory to Understand Political Behavior
Title of the thesis:
In his thesis, Ole-Andres Næss uses a combination of economic theory and modern econometric techniques to answer three distinct questions in applied microeconomics, with a particular focus on political economy.
The first chapter in his thesis analyzes the relation between increasing inequality and political polarization. Over the past decades, there has been a growth in economic inequality in Western countries. Standard voting models predict that more inequality should lead to parties proposing more redistribution, but the empirical support for this prediction is not strong. This chapter proposes a possible alternative explanation to the observed relation between inequality and polarization.
In the second chapter of his thesis, Næss conducts a large-scale field experiment. Together with the local government in Bergen, Norway, he analyzes the effect of a text message that encouraged people to vote in the 2017 Parliamentary election. Næss estimates a size of the treatment effect between 1.4 and 2 percentage points. He also analyzes the underlying mechanisms. A post-election survey asked voters about their opinions about the text message, and this survey indicates that the voters appreciated the informational content of the message.
The third chapter analyzes the incentives for crime reporting. Næss provides an explanation for the observed under-reporting as well as an analysis of welfare-increasing mechanisms. The candidate constructs a model where victims choose whether to report the crime. He shows that there will be under-reporting of crime in equilibrium, because the victims fail to internalize the positive externalities associated with a crime report.
Members of the evaluation committee:
Associate Professor Justin Valasek (leader of the committee), Department of Economics, NHH
Associate Professor Olle Folke, Uppsala University
Professor Patricia Funk, Università della Svizzera Italiana
Professor Eirik G. Kristiansen, Department of Economics, NHH