Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Groves, Jeremy

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Economics




This dissertation contains three essays that examine aspects of public economics and taxation in developing economies. Although each essay examines different questions, they are linked by findings and implications related to policy implementation that is crucial in developing countries. The first paper examines tax reform and entrepreneurship in South Africa. The second paper evaluates corporate tax policy and foreign direct investments in developing countries. The third paper asseses microfinance policy and financial inclusion in Nigeria. Chapter 1 focuses the effects of tax reform on entrepreneurship in South Africa using repeated cross-sectional data from the World Bank. The paper adopts a difference-in-difference estimation technique as well as contrasting periods before and after the tax reform. This contrast is achieved by examining individuals in the formal and informal sector and measuring the effectiveness of the reform on self-employment. The results from the analysis indicate that the tax reform had a positive and significant effect on the probability of becoming self-employed in South Africa and is robust across different econometric specifications. Chapter 2 estimates the impact of corporate taxes on direct foreign investments in developing countries. The paper adds to existing literature using new corporate tax data from 1990-2015 created for the study that includes 65 developing countries. Results from the study indicates that direct foreign investment is not sensitive to corporate taxes in developing economies. This indicates that the flow of foreign investments to developing host nations may be largely driven by other factors. Chapter 3 examines the impact of the microfinance policy supervisory and regulatory framework of 2012 on financial inclusion in Nigeria. The paper contributes to existing literature by employing a national representative data and correcting the self-selection problem evidenced in previous studies. Using the microfinance policy as a natural experiment to test its impact on financial inclusion in Nigeria, the paper finds an increase in account and credit card ownership and no impact on debit card ownership and health insurance enrollment. These results have important implications for monetary and financial policy implementation by the Central Bank of Nigeria.


Advisors: Jeremy Groves.||Committee members: Meg Cheng; Anna Klis.||Includes bibliographical references.


102 pages




Northern Illinois University

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