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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Political Science
 Decade: 2010-2019
Understanding News Media Consumption and Political Attitudes and Behavior in Latin America

Understanding News Media Consumption and Political Attitudes and Behavior in Latin America

Date: May 2011
Creator: Salzman, Ryan
Description: News media consumption is vital to understanding democracy in Latin America. Democracy in the region lacks consolidation that may be encouraged by the ability of news media to shape individuals' political attitudes and behaviors. Yet, we know very little about how citizens of Latin American countries consume news media or how that consumption affects attitudes and behavior. This study offers a region-wide examination of the factors that shape news media consumption and the effects of that consumption on individuals in the region. To explore this topic, I examine survey data from the 2008 Latin American Public Opinion Project in 18 Latin American countries. I argue that news media promote democratic attitudes and political behavior by increasing the symbolic value of democracy and by supplementing those symbols with information that further encourages democratic attitudes and political participation. Additionally, political behavior is not temporally proximate to political behaviors such as voting. This necessitates a mediated path for news media consumption to influence participation through political interest, civil society participation and democratic attitudes. My findings illustrate that each news medium type (TV, radio, newspaper) must be considered separately from each other type. I find that news media consumption has little effect on attitudes. ...
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The Enemy of My Enemy: International Alliances Against Transnational Terrorist Organizations

The Enemy of My Enemy: International Alliances Against Transnational Terrorist Organizations

Date: December 2010
Creator: Berthume, Joshua Guy
Description: A dearth of pre-existing research in the field prompted this thesis on whether traditional econometric analyses of war deterrent alliances are applicable to modern alliances for counter terror purposes. Apparent foundational and contextual differences between the two types of alliances and the costs and benefits member nations derive from each lead the author to theorize that factors contributing to the formation of each alliance are fundamentally similar. Multiple types of statistical models are used to measure variables from the Correlates of War and Polity datasets combined with custom variables in a new dataset concerning major transnational terrorist attacks and the resultant alliances in testing the effect of traditionally contributing formation factors on alliances against terrorism. The results indicate that some contributing factors are similar, extant analysis tools have utility and that further investigation is justified.
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Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Schoolyard Politics: Ethics and Language at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Date: December 2010
Creator: Hatcher, Robert
Description: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been both contentious and successful. By examining the ICTY from a Levinasian ethical standpoint, we might be able to understand how the court uses language to enforce ethical and moral standards upon post-war societies. Using linguistic methods of analysis combined with traditional data about the ICTY, I empirically examine the court using ordinary least squares (OLS) in order to show the impact that language has upon the court's decision making process. I hypothesize that the court is an ethical entity, and therefore we should not see any evidence of bias against Serbs and that language will provide a robust view of the court as an ethical mechanism.
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Europeanization and the Rise of Extremist Parties

Europeanization and the Rise of Extremist Parties

Date: December 2011
Creator: Dague, Jennifer Lee
Description: The research question addressed by this study is: what is the relationship between Europeanization and the rise of extremist parties? In particular I examine the impact of Europeanization on the rise of extreme right parties in Europe from 1984 to 2006. Europeanization in this paper is defined as a process whereby the transformation of governance at the European level and European integration as a whole has caused distinctive changes in domestic politics. This process of Europeanization is one part of a structure of opportunities for extremist parties (which also include social, economic, and electoral factors). Although this study finds that Europeanization does not have a statistically significant effect it is still an important factor when examining domestic political phenomenon in Europe.
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Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Beggars, Brides, and Bards: The Political Philosophy of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew

Date: August 2011
Creator: Murphy, Stephanie Miranda
Description: To do justice to Shakespeare’s comprehensive moral and political thought this paper seeks to discover what we can learn from the political philosophy of his largely neglected comedy, Taming of the Shrew. Not only does this endeavor provide a valuable forgotten link within the critical analyses of the theorists, but it also corrects the various misinterpretations of the play among contemporary critics. I argue that the play surveys various key themes that are rooted in classical political philosophy – such as education, the problems of anger, and the dynamic between nature and convention – and takes into consideration how they apply to modern man. Shakespeare borrows Plato’s idea that eroticism is central to education and explicitly references Ovid’s love books to reexamine our conceptions about one’s formation of character, the proper standards for judging the ideal mate, and the effects of these issues on the stability of the community. I also submit an innovative explanation of the relation between the induction and the main plot. Taken together they exhibit a critique of the role of the poet and his art in modern civil society.
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The Threats to Compliance with International Human Rights Law

The Threats to Compliance with International Human Rights Law

Date: December 2011
Creator: Aloisi, Rosa
Description: In this project I investigate the factors shaping compliance with international human rights agreements and I provide a definition of compliance, which goes beyond “ratification.” I argue that compliance is a multistage process, built upon three different steps: ratification/accession, implementation, and what I call “compliant behavior.” As an alternative to the dominant structural and normative explanation of compliance, I suggest that the factors affecting compliance are not only endogenous to state characteristics, such as the democratic/non-democratic nature of governments, but also exogenous, such as the perceived level of threat to national security. I offer a twofold theory that looks at leaders’ behavior under conditions of stability and instability and I suggest that under certain circumstances that threaten and pressure government leaders, state compliance with international human rights law becomes more costly. I suggest that regardless of regime type, threats shape leaders’ behavior toward international law; states are faced with the choice to abide by international obligations, protecting specific human rights, and the choice to protect their national interests. I argue that when the costs associated with compliance increase, because leaders face threats to their power and government stability, threats become the predictor of non-compliant behavior regardless of the democratic or ...
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Post-Civil War Democratization: Domestic and International Factors in Movement Toward and Away from Democracy

Post-Civil War Democratization: Domestic and International Factors in Movement Toward and Away from Democracy

Date: May 2010
Creator: Joshi, Madhav
Description: Post-civil war democratization is a critical element of building sustainable peace in the post-civil war states. At the same time, studies of democratic transition and survival suggest that the post-civil war environment is not hospitable to either the transition to or survival of democracy. The post-civil war environment is contentious. Former protagonists are fearful about their security and at the same time they want to protect their political and economic interests. The central argument of this study is that former rivals can agree to a transition toward democracy to the extent that a stable balance of power exists between the government and rebel groups, a balance that eliminates the sort of security dilemma that would encourage one or both to resume armed conflict. And the balance should ensure access to political power and economic resources. This study identifies factors that contribute to the establishment of such a balance of power between former protagonists and factors that affects its stability. These factors should affect the decision of former protagonists on whether or not they can achieve their political and economic interests if they agree to a transition toward democracy once civil war ends. Factors that are conducive to a transition toward ...
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Discovery of Resources and Conflict in the Interstate System, 1816-2001

Discovery of Resources and Conflict in the Interstate System, 1816-2001

Date: May 2010
Creator: Clark, Bradley
Description: This study tests a theory detailing the increased likelihood of conflict following an initial resource discovery in the discovering nation and its region. A survey of prior literature shows a multitude of prior research concerning resources and nations' willingness to initiate conflict over those resources, but this prior research lacks any study concerning the effects of the discovery of resources on interstate conflict. The theory discusses the increased likelihood of conflict in the discovering nation as both target and initiator. It further looks at the increased chance of conflict in the discoverer's region due to security dilemmas and proxy wars. The results show strong support for the theory, suggesting nations making new resource discoveries must take extra care to avoid conflict.
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Service Matters: The Influence of Military Service on Political Behavior, Ideology and Attitudes

Service Matters: The Influence of Military Service on Political Behavior, Ideology and Attitudes

Date: August 2010
Creator: Johnson, Catherine L.
Description: The objective of this research is to explore the influence of military service on political behaviors and attitudes. Existing studies of the military have long recognized the existence of a predominantly conservative political ideology with a resulting propensity for strong Republican Party support within the military community, but have failed to explain the likely causal mechanism for this. Drawing on multiple sources of data from the 2008 Presidential election cycle, I utilized a descriptive analysis of campaign contribution data and bivariate and multivariate analyses of data from the 2008 Military Times Survey and the 2008 American National Election Survey. Much of the data also permitted me to analyze the effect of an individual's service branch on their attitudes as well. I examined the behavior and attitudes of the military across several dimensions, including candidate support and positions on policies of particular relevance to the military, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This analysis found that people who serve in the military tend to be conservative but in many ways their political attitudes are reflective of those of the general population. An individual's race, ethnicity and gender appear to have more influence than military factors, with the exception of service ...
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The Dichotomy of Congressional Approval

The Dichotomy of Congressional Approval

Date: August 2010
Creator: Moti, Danish Saleem
Description: This thesis seeks to understand how political awareness affects what information one uses to indicate their approval or disapproval of Congress and its members. More concisely, do more and less aware individuals rely on the same pieces of political information to mold their opinions of Congress? The second question of concern is what role does media consumption play in informing survey respondents about Congress. Third, I consider how survey respondents use cues like the condition of the economy and presidential job performance to help formulate their opinion of Congress Finally, by applying the Congressional approval literature to incumbent level approval, I seek to advance the theory and literature on what motivates the approval of incumbents.
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Examining the Effect of Security Environment on U.S. Unilateral Military Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Examining the Effect of Security Environment on U.S. Unilateral Military Intervention in Civil Conflicts

Date: August 2011
Creator: Aubone, Amber
Description: This study focuses on how perceived security environment affect U.S. unilateral, military intervention in civil conflicts, using the concept of Bayesian learning to illustrate how threat perceptions are formed, how they change, and how they affect the U.S. decision to intervene militarily in civil conflicts. I assess the validity of two primary hypotheses: (1) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts with connections to a threatening actor or ideology; and (2) the U.S. is more likely to intervene in civil conflicts for humanitarian motives in a less threatening security context. To test these hypotheses, I compare U.S. military intervention in three temporal contexts reflecting more threatening security contexts (Cold War and post-9/11) and less threatening security contexts (1992-2001). Results of logit regression analysis reveal that a conflict’s connection to a threatening actor or ideology is the most statistically and substantively significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, both in more and less threatening security contexts. They also indicate that humanitarian motives are not a statistically significant determinant of U.S. military intervention in civil conflicts, even in a more benign security environment. These findings imply that U.S. unilateral military intervention is reserved for more direct national ...
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Ecological Sustainability and Peace: The Effect of Ecological Sustainability on Interstate and Intrastate Environmental Conflict

Ecological Sustainability and Peace: The Effect of Ecological Sustainability on Interstate and Intrastate Environmental Conflict

Date: August 2010
Creator: Yoon, Jong-Han
Description: This study examines the relationship between ecological sustainability and violent conflict at both the interstate and intrastate level. In particular, this study explores the effect of ecological sustainability of a society on the initiation and the occurrence of violent conflict. By developing a theory, which is named "Eco-peace," this study hypothesizes that the more ecologically sustainable the socioeconomic system of societies, the less likely the society is to initiate interstate conflict. Regarding intrastate conflict, it is hypothesized that the more ecologically sustainable the mode of development pursued by the Third World society is, the more likely that society is to experience intrastate conflicts. To test the hypotheses, this study conducts cross-national time-series analyses for 97-127 countries. Negative binomial and Poisson models are used for interstate conflict during 1960-2001, and logit and rare event logit models are used for intrastate conflict during 1960-1999. Militarized interstate dispute dataset and Uppsala Armed Conflict Program dataset are employed for interstate and intrastate conflict. For ecological sustainability, Ecological sustainability factor index and Environmental sustainability index are used. Through the analyses, this study found the supports for the theoretical argument that the ecologically unsustainable modes of development cause the initiation of interstate conflict and the incidence ...
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Plebiscites

Plebiscites

Date: May 2015
Creator: Fonseca Acosta, Rosa
Description: This study investigates factors that can influence leaders to use plebiscites to settle territorial claims. A quick survey of the plebiscite literature shows that the method has been extensively mentioned in the legal, historical, and philosophical fields (mostly through case studies) but less so in political science. This thesis is the first attempt, to my knowledge, to quantitatively investigate the different factors that can influence a leader to use a plebiscite. Using the latest version of the ICOW dataset, I test political and economic theories to try to explain the variation in the decision outcome. This study includes the following variables: identity ties, economic strength, an interaction between identity ties and economic strength, internal constraints (regime type and violent interaction), and external constraints (membership to international organizations). The results suggest that identity ties offer the strongest explanation as to why leaders settle a territorial claim with a plebiscite. Plebiscites have been rarely used to settle territorial claims, but when used they tend to settle cases permanently. This thesis serves as an attempt to revive a method that while difficult to agree upon, can be successful in resolving territorial claims permanently, and more importantly peacefully.
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The Counterinsurgency Dilemma: The Causes and Consequences of State Repression of Human Rights in Civil Wars

The Counterinsurgency Dilemma: The Causes and Consequences of State Repression of Human Rights in Civil Wars

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Date: May 2010
Creator: Quinn, Jason Michael
Description: In this project a theory of adaptive differential insurgency growth by the mechanism of repression driven contagion is put forth to explain variation in the membership and spatial expansion of insurgencies from 1981 to 1999. As an alternative to the dominant structural approaches in the civil war literature, Part 1 of the study proposes an interactive model of insurgency growth based on Most and Starr's opportunity and willingness framework. The findings suggest that state capacity, via its impact on state repressive behavior, plays an important gatekeeping function in selecting which minor insurgencies can grow into civil war, but contributes little to insurgency growth directly. In Part 2 of the study, I directly examine variation in insurgency membership and geographical expansion as a function of repression driven contagion. I find that repression increases the overall magnitude of insurgency activity within states, while at the same time reducing the density of insurgency activity in any one place. Despite an abundance of low intensity armed struggles against a highly diverse group of regimes around the world, I find an extremely strong and robust regularity: where repression is low - insurgencies don't grow.
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The Job of City Manager from Two Points of View

The Job of City Manager from Two Points of View

Date: December 2012
Creator: Blackburn, Audley
Description: The purpose of this study is to define more clearly the task of the city manager by examining the following perceptions of his role: 1) The city manager perceives himself as being an administrator, leaving the political realm to the city council. 2) The city manager is a policy-maker perceiving that his job includes providing objectives and goals for council and community. He uses his knowledge and experience to create an atmosphere within which various alternatives can be presented with full and free discussion of these alternatives. 3) The role of the city manager cannot be defined along the lines of two mutually exclusive statements. The job of the manager includes a combination of both administration and policy-making.
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Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

Not All Truth Commissions Are Alike: Understanding Their Limitations and Impact

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Date: December 2014
Creator: Nichols, Angela D.
Description: This dissertation project develops a theoretical understanding of how truth commissions achieve legitimacy and thus contribute to peace and stability in the aftermath of major traumatic events (e.g. civil war, mass killings, regime changes). I identify three components of truth commission legitimacy---authority, fairness, and transparency---that facilitate beneficial outcomes for societies emerging from a period of severe human rights repression or civil war. I theorize and test how institutions with these legitimacy characteristics contribute to an increase in respect for human rights and decrease political violence in transitioning societies, thus contributing to peace and stability. In order to test the hypothesized relationships, I create a truth commission characteristic dataset that provides greater detail than existing datasets. This project is a contribution to our understanding of the relationships between human rights, institutions, conflict, and international law. It provides one explanation for the inconsistent findings of extant work concerning the impact of transitional justice, generally and truth commissions, specifically. I provide evidence that there are identifiable "best practices" that truth commissions should consider adopting. This information can assist states, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations alike in making difficult decisions regarding the transitional justice process, which is expensive and time consuming further necessitating an ...
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Why Be Friends? Amicus Curiae Briefs in State Courts of Last Resort

Why Be Friends? Amicus Curiae Briefs in State Courts of Last Resort

Date: December 2014
Creator: Perkins, Jared D.
Description: While there has been a substantial body of research on interest group activity in U.S. federal courts, there has been comparatively little analysis of interest group engagement with state courts. Given that state courts adjudicate the vast majority of cases in the American legal system and very few cases are appealed to the Supreme Court, understanding why organized interests participate in these courts is of great importance. The present study analyzes interest group involvement as amicus curiae in all state courts of last resort from 1995-1999 to examine what factors motivate organized interests to turn to the courts. The results indicate that interest groups are primarily motivated by their policy goals in deciding which cases to file amicus briefs in, but that they are limited in their ability to file by institutional constraints unique to state courts of last resort. This research provides insight into interest group behavior, state courts and the role organized interests play in influencing legal outcomes in the American states.
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Clenching the Fists of Dissent: Political Unrest, Repression, and the Evolution to Civil War

Clenching the Fists of Dissent: Political Unrest, Repression, and the Evolution to Civil War

Date: August 2016
Creator: Backstrom, Jeremy R
Description: Previous scholarship has long concentrated on the behaviors of belligerents during regime-dissident interactions. While much of the progress in the literature concentrated on the micro-level processes of this relationship, little research has focused on providing a theoretical reasoning on why belligerents choose to act in a particular manner. This project attempts to open the black box of decision making for regimes and dissidents during regime-dissident interactions in order to provide a theoretical justification for the behaviors of the belligerents involved. Moreover, this project argues that there is a relationship between the lower level events of political violence and civil war as the events at earlier stages of the conflict influence the possible outcome of civil conflict. Regimes and dissidents alike are strategic actors who conduct themselves in a manner to ensure their survival while concurrently attempting to succeed at achieving their respective goals. Although all authoritarian regimes are similar in their differences to democracies, there are significant differences between the regimes, which influence the decision making of the regime leader to ensure the survival of the political institution. In addition to influencing the decision calculus of the regimes, the behavior of the regimes impacts the probability of civil war at ...
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Run, Women, Run! Female Candidates and Term Limits: A State-Level Analysis

Run, Women, Run! Female Candidates and Term Limits: A State-Level Analysis

Date: August 2016
Creator: Pettey, Samantha
Description: This dissertation seeks to explain the puzzle in the state politics literature which expects females to benefit from the enactment of term limits, but initial research finds the number of female in office decreases after the implementation of term limits. Examining this puzzle involves three separate stand-alone chapters which explore female candidate emergence (1), success rates (2), and women-friendly state legislative districts (3). The goal of the dissertation is to reconcile the puzzle while adding insight into how female candidates behave at the state-level. Overall, I find that term limits increases female descriptive representation by increasing the likelihood a female candidate will run and win an election.
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Scripture for America: Scriptural Interpretation in John Locke's Paraphrase

Scripture for America: Scriptural Interpretation in John Locke's Paraphrase

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Date: August 2016
Creator: Kearns, Kevin M
Description: Is John Locke a philosopher or theologian? When considering Locke's religious thought, scholars seldom point to his Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul. This is puzzling since the Paraphrase is his most extensive treatment of Christian theology. Since this is the final work of his life, did Locke undergo a deathbed conversion? The scholarship that has considered the Paraphrase often finds Locke contradicting himself on various theological doctrines. In this dissertation, I find that Locke not only remains consistent with his other writings, but provides his subtlest interpretation of Scripture. He is intentionally subtle in order to persuade a Protestant audience to modern liberalism. This is intended to make Protestantism, and specifically Calvinism, the vehicle for modern liberalism. This is seen clearly in Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Though Weber concludes that Protestant support for capitalism in the late 19th Century is due to its theological foundation, I find that Weber is actually examining Lockean Protestantism. Locke's success in transforming Protestantism is also useful today in showing how a modern liberal can converse with someone who actively opposes, and may even wish to harm, modern liberalism. The dissertation analyzes four important Protestant ...
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New Rules to an Old Game: Electoral Reforms and Post-Civil War Stability

New Rules to an Old Game: Electoral Reforms and Post-Civil War Stability

Date: August 2016
Creator: Keels, Eric
Description: One of the most common features found within peace agreements are provisions that call for post-civil war elections. Unfortunately, recent research on post-civil war stability has consistently demonstrated that the initial elections held after civil wars significantly increases the risk for renewed fighting. While this research does highlight a danger posed by post-war elections, it focuses only on one element associated with post-civil war democracy. I argue that by implementing electoral reforms that are called for in peace agreements, post-war countries reduce the risk of renewed civil war. Implementing these peace agreement provisions increases the durability of post-war peace in two ways. First, by implementing costly electoral reforms called for in the peace agreement, the government signals a credible commitment to the peace process which reduces security dilemmas faced by opposition groups. Second, electoral reforms generate new avenues for political participation for disaffected citizens, which reduces the ability of hardliners to mobilize future armed opposition. I examine how implementing post-war electoral reforms impact the risk of renewed conflict from 1989 through 2010. Using duration models, I demonstrate that implementing these electoral reforms substantially reduces the risk of renewed conflict.
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Context Matters: How Feminist Movements Magnify Feminist Opinion of Progressive Policies in South America

Context Matters: How Feminist Movements Magnify Feminist Opinion of Progressive Policies in South America

Date: August 2016
Creator: Ferris, Rachel E
Description: What explains the inconsistency of female empowerment in South America, despite high levels of institutional inclusion? Generally, the social sciences tend to lean on the tenets of liberal feminism in order to measure the development of gender-inclusive policy changes; however, their findings indicate that higher levels of institutional inclusion does not necessarily translate into the empowerment of women as a group. Further, within political science, there is little research addressing the relationship between feminist movements and the feminist opinion of individuals within a state. I argue that strong feminist social movements provide a context in which feminist opinion is magnified, and where individuals will be more likely to support progressive policy changes. Using questions from the World Values Survey, I operationalize progressive policies as the Justifiability of Abortion. My primary independent variables are the presence feminist movements and the presence of feminist opinion, which is measured by support for female sexual freedom. After using a multilevel mixed-effects linear regression, I find support for my hypotheses, indicating that feminist opinion is magnified by the presence of feminist movements.
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The Issue with Latino Voter Turnout: How Does the Issue of Immigration Affect Latino Voter Turnout?

The Issue with Latino Voter Turnout: How Does the Issue of Immigration Affect Latino Voter Turnout?

Date: August 2013
Creator: Robert, John M.
Description: In this study, I investigate how the issue of immigration affects Latino voter turnout. I hypothesize that U.S. Latino citizens who view immigration as highly important and helpful to the United States will be more likely to turn out to vote in midterm and presidential elections. In addition to a contextual analysis on elections in Arizona and California, I perform a probit regression analysis on survey data from Pew Hispanic's 2004 National Survey of Latinos on Politics and Civic Participation. The results are mixed with respect to the initial expectations. While respondents who view immigration as important and helpful are more likely to turn out than those who view immigration as important and hurtful, the results suggest that respondents who find immigration as unimportant may not be less likely to turn out. Further, there are some differences between Latino subgroups, although these differences are minor. Ultimately, the hypotheses presented in this study find moderate support.
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Inside the Third Sector: a Gongo Level Analysis of Chinese Civil Society

Inside the Third Sector: a Gongo Level Analysis of Chinese Civil Society

Date: August 2013
Creator: Kirby, John Brandon
Description: This thesis investigates a new variant of the relationship between society and the states: Government-Owned (or Organized) Non-Governmental Organizations (GONGOs). Past research has typically understood civil society as a means to explain the orientation of groups of citizens towards collective outcomes. For decades, NGOs have been a key component of this relationship between political actors but the systematic study of GONGOs has been widely neglected by research. I used an original dataset collected from an NGO directory developed by the China Development Brief (CDB) that provides information on the functional areas of NGOs, their sources of funding and various organizational facts. These data were used to code a series of concepts that will serve as the basis for an initial systematic study into GONGOs and their relationship with the Chinese government. My theoretical expectations are that the primary predictors of an NGO’s autonomy relate to their functional areas of operation, their age and other geographical factors. I find preliminary support for the effect of an NGO’s age on its autonomy from the state, as well as initial support for the dynamic nature of the relationship between NGOs and the state. I close with a discussion of these findings as well ...
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