Three essays in labor economics and the economics of networks

Authors: Faton, Elfried
Advisor: Boucher, VincentFortin, Bernard
Abstract: This thesis is about the influence of social interactions and network structure on various economic outcomes. Specifically, the thesis presents new findings explaining how social interactions shape individual outcomes like their effort, performance and productivity in the workplace, as well as their beliefs on miscellaneous social matters. Specifically, Chapter 1 gives new empirical results on some variables affecting the effort, quality of healthcare provided, and performance of maternal and child health (MCH) workers from a developing country (Benin). The results are obtained in a context of fixed salaries irrespective of workers' performance. In addition, Chapter 2 complements the results in Chapter 1, by explaining some of its main results on workers' productivity, in light of their bargaining power in the workplace. As for Chapter 3, it stands in the theory of opinion formation in a network. This chapter gives new results on the convergence of individual beliefs and reaching a consensus within a network when we consider a few cognitive biases in individual's behavior. More specifically, the results of this thesis are summarized as follows. Chapter 1 uses a non-cooperative game approach to bring to light the existence of strategic substitutability in the workplace of MCH workers in Benin. Particularly, the paper suggests that, to provide collectively a certain quality of healthcare in their health facility, some workers (altruists) increase their effort to compensate for the failure of their peers in offering a good quality of care. Moreover, using some relevant information in the data, the chapter also proposes a simple probability-based method to account for some variability in the strength of interactions among colleagues. Chapter 2 on the other hand, focuses on the same MCH workers, and proposes a new theory to understand better some mechanisms behind the equilibrium expressed by the strategic substitutability obtained in Chapter 1. More specifically, the chapter presents a simple Nash bargaining approach to establish how individual characteristics mold their bargaining power and consequently their workload share. The results show that workers social characteristics like their education, experience and number of children determine their bargaining power in the workplace, and thus their productivity. Finally, Chapter 3 explores how some cognitive biases affect convergence and consensus properties known up to now in an average-based model of opinion formation. In particular, when accounting for a confirmation bias and an extremist relative superiority bias, the chapter reveals that, in an a priori strongly connected and aperiodic network, beliefs do not necessarily converge to a consensus. Furthermore, some typical features of a priori networks and vectors of initial beliefs which influence the existence of a consensus are given. Overall, the chapter proposes a new understanding of some mechanisms behind social issues like political radicalism, extreme behaviors and the non-convergence of opinions within a network.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 28 August 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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