Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

David A. Hennessy


The four papers comprising this thesis are entirely self-contained. Paper I investigates financial measures of a projects' worth in a standard static setting. We identify conditions such that net present value is monotone in the discount rate applied to evaluate a project. We also formulate a linear dominance condition on projects' cash flows sufficient to order projects according to the internal rate of return criterion. Paper II develops a firmer understanding of the economics underlying the relationship between rental rates sensitivity to output price and land quality. Using two measures of land quality: distance to market and yield productivity, we identify conditions on the production technology such that rental volatility varies in a monotone manner with land quality. In our empirical findings, we reject the null hypothesis of an inverse relationship between land quality and rental volatility with respect to commodity prices. Paper III highlights the role that uncertain consumer acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crop varieties may play in production decisions. We seek to explain the negative shift in acres sown to GM seed varieties in planting year 2000 as a result of a reduction in information available to growers at planting. Also, it is conjectured that growers make their acreage allocation decisions based on signals that inform them about the nature of post-harvest demand. We identify the types of signals that growers prefer to receive. Paper IV focuses on information asymmetry, where producers know more about their production practices than consumers, and voluntary labeling decisions. We develop a model of the market differentiation between GM and non-GM food varieties in a production environment where acreage allocation stage is followed by costly segregation between the two varieties. Having observed high demand for non-GM food variety, some food processors may falsely label their product as non-GM. We find that, contrary to intuition, the amount of fraud may not fall as a result of enhanced monitoring efforts, higher penalties, or a rebate on the cost of the investment in the segregation. In part two of the paper, the uncertainty about consumer acceptance of GM foods, penalty, and segregation costs is introduced.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Alexander Ernestovich Saak



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

137 pages