PhD defense: Elias Braunfels

PhD Defense

3 June 2015 21:44

(updated: 7 March 2016 21:46)

PhD defense: Elias Braunfels

On Tuesday 16 June 2015 Elias Braunfels will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend his thesis "Political Institutions, Economic Institutions, and Economic Growth" for the PhD degree at NHH.

Institutions define incentives for actors - individuals and groups - in society, and constrain their behavior. Different types of institutions constrain behavior in different domains. There is a consensus that the overall quality of institutions is important for economic development and growth. This thesis' contribution is to make progress in distinguishing well-defined types of institutions and to present empirical evidence for their effects and interactions.

Two papers focus on basic political and economic institutions in developing countries. Paper 1 studies the dynamic development and interaction of political and economic institutions. The major findings are that
(i) improving economic institutions has a large positive effect on future political institutions, and
(ii) political institutions have a positive, but quantitatively smaller effect on current economic institutions. In addition,
(iii) political instability related to conflict positively affects future political institutions.

Paper 2 turns to the economic effects of institutions and disentangles the impact of three types of institutions - political, economic, and contracting - on economic development. The findings suggest that differences in income levels across former European colonies are largely driven by political institutions.

Paper 3 discusses which fiscal measures - taxes and spending - affect growth in OECD countries. The findings confirm a robust link between various fiscal variables and growth. While overall government consumption, distortionary taxes and top corporate taxes exhibit robust negative growth effects, top income taxes are not related, and productive spending is robustly positively related with growth.

Time and place

Trial lecture: 10:15 Karl Borchs Auditorium
Defense: 12:15 in Karl Borchs Auditorium

The trial lecture and thesis defense will be open to the public. Copies of the thesis will be available from:

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture

"Theories on the role of institutions in economic development"

Evaluation committee

Chair: Associate Professor Torfinn Harding, Norwegian School of Economics
Professor Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Professor Karl Ove Moene, University of Oslo

Supervising committee

Professor Gernot Doppelhofer, Norwegian School of Economics, principal supervisor
Professor Halvor Mehlum, University of Oslo