Date of Award

8-10-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Financial Economics

Department

Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Xiao, Wei

Second Advisor

Morris, Michael

Third Advisor

Turunen-Red, Arja

Fourth Advisor

Naka, Atsuyuki

Fifth Advisor

Whitney, Gerald

Abstract

This dissertation studies two interesting business cycle issues. The first issue concerns the effectiveness of tax policies in stimulating an economic recovery. The second issue concerns the costs of business cycle fluctuations to an investor who chooses to invest in risky assets. The first essay evaluates the effectiveness of the "end of double tax" policy in stimulating an economic recovery by analyzing the transitional dynamics of the economy's aggregates toward the steady states. The effectiveness of this policy is compared with two alternative policies that reduce corporate income or personal income taxes. Although all of these tax policies are found to stimulate the economy's levels of output and investment, the "end of double taxation" appears to exert the most significant impact on the aggregate levels of these variables in the short run. Based on this finding, we claim that the "end of double taxation" is an effective policy for stimulating an economic recovery in the short-run. In a thought-provoking exercise Lucas (1987 and 2003) argues that the welfare costs of business cycles is negligible. The second essay follows up on this argument by incorporating prospect theory into the formulation of individual preferences. Prospect theory proposes that agents care about changes in their wealth level rather than the level of their final wealth, and individuals are also taken to be more sensitive to losses than gains in their financial wealth. According to the prospect theory, therefore, the agents take fluctuations in the asset returns seriously. Results from empirical tests find that an individual investor, on average, would give up2.58-9.49% of the average returns, she receives from investing in the risky asset, in order to eliminate all the fluctuations associated with her asset returns. This result is interpreted as an indication of much larger welfare costs than Lucas' estimates.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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