Date of Graduation


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This dissertation puts together a collection of essay examining issues that surround the age old question why some nations are rich and other nations poor. Within the international development field of economics there are several different topics of focus. These include ‘Getting the Policies Right,’ ‘Getting the Institutions Right,’ and ‘Getting the Culture Right.’ Each essay in my dissertation examines a specific question from one of these three areas. My dissertation is arranged in five chapters. Chapter 1 serves as introduction to the three essays, explains how each essay fits into the development literature, and presents some of the results and conclusions. Chapter 2 presents the essay that falls into the category ‘Getting the Policies Right.’ This chapter examines the role of foreign aid and human development, specifically how foreign aid to the health sector impacts a variety of health indicators. Chapter 3 examines ‘Getting the Institutions Right.’ This essay explores how secure property rights are achieved and presents evidence of the relative importance of formal and informal property rights institutions. Chapter 4 develops a theory and empirically examines ‘Getting the Culture Right.’ This essay explores the relationship between formal and informal institutions and how different institutional arrangements impact economic development. Chapter 5 serves to conclude the dissertation with a discussion of the implication of the findings and areas for future research.