School of Management, 2008
  • School of Management, 2008



    The Absence of Economic Freedom in the Horn of Africa: Djibouti
    Abdi Abdirahman
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    Djibouti is a country located on the Horn of Africa that has followed the economic development path of many African countries. Like most countries in the region, war, recession, and high population growth has plagued the country since its independence from France in 1977. For the last two decades, unemployment has risen to about 60 percent and poverty level is estimated to be more than 40 percent. Faced with a multitude of economic difficulties, the government has fallen behind on its external debt obligations and has sought debt forgiveness from the World Bank and developed countries. The solutions to these challenging problems are not found in foreign aid or traditional mainstream economic growth theory, but instead required a need to understand the role of entrepreneurs and the institutional environment that lead to sustained economic growth. In this paper, I summarize the major institutional deficiencies that inspire unproductive entrepreneurship in the country that hinder growth. In doing so, I provide several remedies that improve economic freedom and progress.



    Economic Freedom and Growth of Italy
    Brian J. Harstine
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    I analyze how the institutions and policies in Italy affect the wealth of that country. It is believed that economic growth and prosperity may depend on how welcoming a country is to entrepreneurship. Increased entrepreneurship is believed to be an outcome of open policies and institutions, and it is believed that entrepreneurship is where economic growth emerges from. The ability to prosper depends on the institutions and policies in place. I examine these institutions and policies to see how they have affected the economic prosperity of Italy.



    Entrepreneurship and Movie Rentals: From Betamax to Blu-ray
    William J. Luther
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    This presentation investigates the dynamic nature of the movie rental industry. Specifically, we observe the initial surge of rental stores in response to the development of home movie players and the eventual decline in the number of firms present in the market as some were able to innovate and adapt more quickly than others. In the process, we critique the static nature of neoclassical models and explore the benefits of creative destruction. We conclude that Kirznerian and Schumpeterian functions of entrepreneurship rapidly advanced media storage technology while transforming the very nature of the movie rental industry.



    Economic Activity and Freedom in Greece
    Matthew Naugle
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    What makes a country prosperous or poor? There are a surprising number of wealthy countries which are lacking in natural resources, while many poor countries are rich in natural resources. When examining the data provided by the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Project, a trend appears that shows that prosperity of people in any given country is primarily linked to that country's level of economic freedom, with wealthier countries having limited governments, lower tax rates, protections for property rights, enforcement of contracts, and equality before the law. This presentation provides a closer look at the recent history of the Greek economy, the level of freedom available to entrepreneurs in Greece, the politics of Greece, and the quality of life of Greek citizens.



    Sub-Saharan Africa: The Much Needed Institutional Reforms
    Samuel Bong Ngambo
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    For many decades, growth in several parts of the world has been stagnating for some countries, while it actually decreased from its previous levels for some. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced lower growth than what they did in the 1960s. Years of SAP (Structural Adjustment Plans) and of good governance seem to have had a little effect in helping those economies grow. In fact, the policies of the Bretton Woods institutions have miserably failed to address the issues for which they were designed. Such failures have led scholars, in the development field, to drift from classical mainstream macroeconomics and, embrace the theory of institutional changes as the driving force of economic development. The question of why some nations grow, economically while some do not can actually be explained through the different institutional reforms performed by each nation. In our presentation, we investigate the institutional environment of Cameroon, a country located south of the Sahara, and see how the political and economic institutions have not been designed in a way to promote political and economic freedom, two key factors of growth.



    The Haitian Hang-Up: How Haiti
    Kate H. Schumacher
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Currently, 54% of the Haitian population lives on less than a dollar a day, while 80% live on less than two dollars a day. During three out of four decades from 1960 to 2000, Haiti's average economic growth rate was -2.2%. Why has Haiti remained virtually undeveloped? This presentation will present the in-depth research that has been conducted to evaluate the impact of the Haitian policy environment and its political institutions on entrepreneurship, which in turn promotes economic growth, development, and improvements in the general wellbeing of a country's citizens.



    Bring Them Like Beckham: David Beckham's Effect on Major League Soccer Attendance
    Kate Sheehan
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    For the 2007 MLS season, LA Galaxy acquired international soccer sensation David Beckham. It was expected that Beckham would increase league recognition and appeal both in the United States and abroad, increase revenue, and increase game day attendance. Hausman and Leonard (1997) found a positive externality exists for superstars in the NBA. A superstar increases attendance at both home and away games; revenue is increased for teams that do not pay for the superstars’ contract. To help internalize the positive externalities that Beckham was projected create, both the LA Galaxy and the MLS paid for Beckham’s contract. To see if Beckham increased game day attendance for LA Galaxy games, an ordinary least squares estimate model was performed. It was found that Beckham dramatically increases game day attendance at LA Galaxy games, both home and away.



    Georgia's Growth: How a Post-Soviet Country Enables Economic Development
    Kate Sheehan
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    The country of Georgia has recently improved its economy by allowing for more economic freedom. This post-Communist economy is ranked 44th out of 141 countries by the Frasier Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index. Georgia has sustained an average GDP growth of over 8.0% during the past five years and was recognized in 2007 by the World Bank as the world’s most rapidly reforming economy. This presentation examines the policies and institutions that have encouraged economic growth and development within Georgia. It also presents the current policies and trends that hinder further growth, stability, and progress. The policy environment of Georgia is continuing to allow for more economic freedom. This in turn encourages entrepreneurship and investment which enables economic growth, development, and progress; however, this is only possible if Georgia continues to decrease corruption and further secure property rights.



    Economics in Colombia
    Samantha Tracht
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawsonwhen

    This case study addresses the issues of economic freedom, economic growth, and the policy environments present in Colombia. Colombia, located in northern South America, has approximately 44.3 million people. Currently Colombia is ranked 112 out of 141 countries in the Economic Freedom of the World Index conducted by the Frasier Institute. This paper looks at the economic history of Colombia past and present along with the policies and institutions present during the times Colombia experienced economic growth and economic decline. It addresses the causes of the country’s economic struggles as well as the possible economic future of Columbia if it continues on its current trend. Some of the other topics covered are Colombia’s large underground economy in the narcotics industry, the corruption in their government, and their problems with guerilla forces.



    Whitney Willits
    Mentor: Robert A. Lawson

    Economic growth between nations is uneven, to say the least. Many of the world's richest nations continue to accumulate wealth and economic power while the poorest are seemingly trapped in poverty. Nevertheless, as many contemporary economists contend, this disparity can be attributed to variations in the institutional environments governing each country (Powell, 2007). In Italy, this theory holds: its economic prosperity is directly related to institutional changes that have occurred. This case study represents an analysis of post-WWII institutional changes and the resulting economic performance of Italy. It begins by chronologically addressing the institutional modifications that have occurred and their economic impact and concludes with a prescription for how Italy must adapt in order to create and maintain economic freedom and growth.