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Abstract

My dissertation adds empirical evidence to the evolving understanding of individual decision making in response to development trends. My first chapter, the first evaluation of the impact of a community-driven development program on social capital in Morocco, shows that the program has improved people's willingness to contribute to public goods. However, there is a negative impact on trust that also indirectly lowers trustworthiness, and no impact on altruism. The positive economic impact of the program may induce these seemingly conflicting results since richer people can feel more generous toward their community, but are also more independent and less trusting. My second chapter simulates the potential impact of energy subsidy removal on household welfare in Vietnam. The results indicate that the impact would be more negative for the rich but would push many poor into energy poverty since they are already close to subsistence level. Nevertheless, taking into account the revenue benefit, the social costs are small, hence reform is still desirable, but needs to be accompanied by mitigation measures. Finally, my third chapter investigates the influence of coresident grandparents on children welfare in Russia. Analyses shows that living with grandparents can be beneficial for children, especially when educated grandparents have a preference for investing in children. Nevertheless, coresident grandparents can take away resources from the grandchildren as their health deteriorates. This conflicting interest of grandparents requires a balanced policy that supports coresidence to provide informal support, but also eases the burden on the households when grandparents are in need.

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