Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gorton, Gary


My dissertation has three chapters. In the first chapter, I show that property tax rates among single family homes in the United States are regressive with respect to sale price because tax assessors use flawed valuation models that ignore priced house and neighborhood characteristics. The insight from this chapter is that a wealth tax system that requires the government to value assets that do not have readily available market prices would tend to increase wealth inequality among asset owners. In the second chapter, I show that failure of bond insurance companies during the Global Financial Crisis constrained local municipalities’ ability to borrow from the municipal bond market and employ workers. Results from this chapter show why, during the financial crisis, local governments were unable to borrow and spend more to support local economies. In the last chapter, I show that social similarities such as school and ethnic ties between venture capital investors and startup founders increase the likelihood of collaboration and investment success. These results suggest that the type of social traits venture capital investors use to form business partnerships matters for investment outcomes.