It is a pleasure to announce that the winner of the 2017 C.A. Curtis Prize is Mr. Alex Chernoff for his PhD thesis entitled, “Essays on Firm Heterogeneity with Empirical Applications in Economic History and Agricultural Economics,” supervised by Professors Bev Lapham, Huw Lloyd-Ellis and Ian Keay. The C.A. Curtis prize is awarded annually to the best doctoral thesis. Graduating PhD students who defended their thesis within the previous two years are eligible for nomination.
We would like to also thank our 2017 Curtis Prize committee Sumon Majumdar and James MacKinnon, for all of their hard work in deciding this prestigious award. Below you will find the abstract for Mr. Chernoff’ s paper as well as a link to the thesis itself.
“This thesis uses models of firm-heterogeneity to complete empirical analyses in economic history and agricultural economics. In Chapter 2, a theoretical model of firm heterogeneity is used to derive a statistic that summarizes the welfare gains from the introduction of a new technology. The empirical application considers the use of mechanical steam power in the Canadian manufacturing sector during the late nineteenth century. I exploit exogenous variation in geography to estimate several parameters of the model. My results indicate that the use of steam power resulted in a 15.1 percent increase in firm-level productivity and a 3.0-5.2 percent increase in aggregate welfare. Chapter 3 considers various policy alternatives to price ceiling legislation in the market for production quotas in the dairy farming sector in Quebec. I develop a dynamic model of the demand for quotas with farmers that are heterogeneous in their marginal cost of milk production. The econometric analysis uses farm-level data and estimates a parameter of the theoretical model that is required for the counterfactual experiments. The results indicate that the price of quotas could be reduced to the ceiling price through a 4.16 percent expansion of the aggregate supply of quotas, or through moderate trade liberalization of Canadian dairy products. In Chapter 4, I study the relationship between farm-level productivity and participation in the Commercial Export Milk (CEM) program. I use a difference-in-difference research design with inverse propensity weights to test for causality between participation in the CEM program and total factor productivity (TFP). I find a positive correlation between participation in the CEM program and TFP, however I find no statistically significant evidence that the CEM program affected TFP.”