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Abstract

The first chapter examines how violent conflict affects the decision to become a self-employed shopkeeper or vendor in a rural area. It proposes reduced access to markets through road insecurity as a new channel of conflict transmission. In the context of the Peruvian armed internal conflict, it finds that the probability of opening a shop decreases with distance to the next market in conflict districts. This effect is exacerbated in districts with high conflict intensity and long conflict duration. The second chapter studies the formation of beliefs on the importance of effort in determining economic outcomes using data from rural Chhattisgarh, India. Beliefs in meritocracy are not correlated with people’s objective income. They are correlated with the subjective assessment of household income for men, but not for women. This self-assessment is strongly correlated with its objective counterpart (income) for women, but not for men. These findings can be interpreted from a perspective of “motivated beliefs”, where people believe in a “just world", and the process of belief formation interacts with gender roles. The third chapter studies how the copy-pasting of international trade agreement texts affects trade flows. In a gravity model, I introduce indicators of textual similarity that capture how much an agreement resembles each party's previous agreements. The results indicate that the exports of countries that have a greater influence on the treaty text increase more than their partners'.

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