Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Catherine L. Kling

Second Advisor

Peter F. Orazem


This dissertation consists of five empirical chapters spanning the areas of natural resource economics and labor economics. After a general introduction in chapter one, the next four chapters deal with how households respond to exogenous changes to economic opportunities such as shocks to employment or to life expectancy at birth. The fifth chapter investigates the linkage between agricultural management and ecosystem services. The dissertation makes extensive use of household survey data, both from the US and from a large number of cross-country surveys. The first two chapters show that unemployment during recessions may lower households’ recreation expenditure but increase households’ participation in local outdoor recreation activities. The findings from the third and fourth chapters suggest that rising life expectancy at birth increases years in school as well as lifetime earnings, which reinforces the role of health in economic development. The final chapter provides an estimate of the environmental benefits associated with the set of agricultural conservation practices identified in Iowa nutrient reduction Strategy 2013. The economic value from local recreation and aesthetics, drinking water purification, reduced soil erosion, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are sizable and under some assumptions are of same order of magnitude as the estimated costs.


Copyright Owner

Mohammad Mainul Hoque



File Format


File Size

276 pages