Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Explaining divergence of service prices in developing countries

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  • In explaining why service prices differ across countries (both developed and developing countries), most studies have paid attention to the role of structural variables such as population, trade balance, resource abundance etc., by using a full employment assumption. Due to the existence of high urban unemployment in developing countries, the assumption of full employment is not suitable. The objective of this study is to build general equilibrium models that can be used to explain the service price differences across developing countries by incorporating rural-urban migration and urban unemployment. Internal migration from rural to urban areas is allowed because of distortions in labor market. The current work includes structural variables that are used in the literature, such as agricultural land, mineral resources, labor endowment, trade deficit, population, and tourism, along with 2 new variables, manufacturing capital and services capital. This study also considers the effects of macroeconomic policies (fiscal and monetary policies) on service prices which are neglected in the literature. The theoretical models suggest that, ceteris paribus, larger land area, mineral resources, higher trade deficits, tourist receipts, and money supply increase service prices, but larger populations reduce service prices. The effects of services capital, labor force, the terms of trade, and government spending are ambiguous from the theoretical models. An empirical study is performed to test the theoretical implications. The empirical results suggest that larger endowments of land, mineral resources, manufacturing capital, labor force, and services capital, as well as higher trade deficits, tourist receipts, government spending, and money supply increase the service prices. Conversely, larger populations reduce service prices as predicted.
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