Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Santiago M. Pinto.


This dissertation consists of three essays that look into different types of institutions and their relation with various aspects of economic development. The essays explore the role of financial institutions, political institutions and the role of a free media in the context of economic development. Chapter 2 elaborates on how foreign direct investment (henceforth FDI) inflow into an economy can contribute towards the freedom of the institution of media. Chapter 3 analyzes how a free media can help mitigate terrorism incidents and strengthen a democracy for the same cause. Chapter 4 investigates how the development of financial institutions, namely financial intermediaries, helps in deconcentration of urban centers and promotes orderly urbanization.;Chapter 2 titled The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Press Freedom establishes foreign direct investment (FDI) as a major determinant of media freedom. Global integration can strengthen the media sector financially, make it technologically enhanced and can also improve the economic environment as a whole. This, in turn, would work towards the enhancement of media freedom. The sample includes high, middle and low income economies. Using a panel of 115 countries over a period of 20 years, our results reveal that FDI is an absolute necessity for a free and efficient media. The results are robust to various alternate specifications and inclusion of additional control variables.;Chapter 3 titled Countering Terror: The Importance of a Free Press establishes the importance of a free press in combating terrorism. Considering the case of transnational terrorism, the robust empirical analysis establishes that a free press mitigates impacts of terrorism. The analysis further substantiates that though a democracy by itself if often criticized as being terror-inviting, when empowered by a free press, the two together has a definite terror dampening effect.;Chapter 4, Counting on Financial Development for Urbanization examines the extent to which the level of a country's financial development play a contributory role in determining the pace of urbanization and urban concentration in different countries. The empirical analysis spanning a 30 year period for 117 developed and developing countries show that a higher level of financial development is associated with a lower growth in urbanization and urban concentration. The results are found to be driven mostly by the experiences of developing countries.