ESSAYS ON TRADE, IMMIGRATION, AND MICROFINANCE
Dhanireddy, Pavan Kumar Reddy
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This dissertation consists of three papers analyzing the effect of the South Asian free trade agreement, identifying various factors that influence the settlement of illegal immigrants and the impact of microfinance on investment in children's education. The first article estimates the effect of a free trade agreement on export flows among member countries of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) using panel data from 2001 - 2010. This paper also compares the average growth of exports of SAFTA countries with neighboring non-SAFTA countries using difference-in-differences Poisson Pseudo Maximum Likelihood gravity estimator. Results show that the share of intraregional exports has grown within SAFTA during the post-SAFTA period compared to the pre-SAFTA period by 107 percent. But I find that the increase in exports in SAFTA is not statistically different from the increase in exports of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The second study identifies various important characteristics that determine the location of illegal immigrants within the United States. I use random effect model to investigate the various reasons why illegal immigrants decide to settle in different states including socioeconomic, network, welfare, political, and enforcement effects. I find that illegal immigrants settle in states with network effects, where the enforcement is higher; and are less likely to be in states with a higher welfare effects. I used a logit model to examine personal characteristics on the illegal immigrants. I find that illegal immigrants are more likely to be males, with low education levels, working in the construction sector.The third study estimates how the probability of taking a microfinance loan and the total amount of loan from microfinance institutions by Self Help Groups members affects their children's education in India. The objective of this study is to identify the factors that determine the probability of getting a loan from microfinance institutions using probit model. Results show that household income has positive impact on probability of getting a microfinance loan, but did not find any effect on savings and expenditure. The analysis did not find any evidence of the impact of microfinance credit of household members on investment in children's education.