Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Migration, Entrepreneurship, Microfinance, Disaster Shocks

Major Advisor

Nathan Fiala

Associate Advisor

Nishith Prakash

Associate Advisor

Charles Towe

Field of Study

Agricultural and Resource Economics


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


This dissertation consists of three empirical essays on migration, entrepreneurship, microfinance, and the impact of natural disaster shocks from microeconomic perspective. Chapter 1 exploits exogenous variation in exposure to earthquake shocks among households in rural Nepal in a quasi-experimental setup and finds that although earthquake had significant negative impact on housing adequacy in the medium run and increased food insecurity in the short run, it had little to no impact on household income and consumption in the medium run. The paper also finds significant increases in reported cases of emotional, and sexual violence against women in earthquake affected areas. Chapter 2 explores direct and spillover effects of migration on rural non-farm business activities. Using instrumental variables strategy to deal with selection into migration and engagement in non-farm activites, this study finds that while migrant households are less likely to engage in non-farm business activities, high migration growth villages are more likely to experience higher growth in business activities, suggesting significant spillover effects of migration on non-migrant households in high migration villages. The paper also finds that villages that have better access to road and electricity, and villages that have higher female land ownership are more likely to experience growth in business activities as a result of growth in migration. Chapter 3 reviews and highlights statistical power issues in eight randomized control trial studies of microfinance published between 2011 and 2018.