UNT Theses and Dissertations - 46 Matching Results

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Beyond GNP: Economic Freedom as a Determinant of Basic Human Needs.

Description: Research concerning ‘basic needs' in the Human Rights literature has consistently found a positive and significant relationship between measures of wealth and basic needs provision. This study utilizes a relatively new measure of economic freedom to test hypotheses regarding general macro-economic policy decisions and basic needs outcomes. A pooled dataset of 138 countries over four years is examined using OLS panel regression controlling for both' year' and ‘country,' in a standard basic needs model. Consistent and systematic differences between economic freedom effects in OECD nations and non-OECD nations are revealed. The Economic Freedom Index has both theoretical and empirical advantages over previous measures of wealth and economic freedom, allowing human rights scholars to test specific economic policy decisions as they affect basic needs outcomes.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Juenke, Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Blessed and the Damned: Peacemakers, Warlords, and Post Civil War Democracy

Description: This thesis seeks to explain how democracies emerge out of the ashes of civil wars. This paper envisions transitions to democracy after a civil war largely as a function of the peace process. Democracy is thought of as a medium through which solutions to the problems and issues over which the civil war was fought can be solved without violence. Transitions to democracy are more likely if there is a large bargaining space and the problems of credible commitments to democratization can be solved. Democratization is more likely if four conditions exist in a state after the civil war: a negotiated settlement, credible commitments via international enforcement, demobilization, and a cooperative international environment. The hypotheses derived are tested through an event history analysis for two different standards of democracy. The results suggest that factors indicative of all four theoretical concepts contribute to the likelihood of democratization after a civil war.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Wright, Thorin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Changing Ideological Boots: Adaptive Legislator Behavior in Changing Districts

Description: Congressional roll-call votes are often used to investigate legislative voting behavior. To depict adaptive roll-call behavior in response to demographic changes that occur during redistricting, I use issue specific interest group scores from the ADA, NFU, and COPE. This exploits the bias in the selection of the issues that interest groups utilize to rate U.S. representatives, by using them to reflect changes in response to significant demographic fluctuations in the constituency population. The findings indicate that while party is the most significant factor in whether legislators adapt their voting in favor of certain groups, they do notice group composition changes within district and adapt their voting accordingly. This illustrates the impact of redistricting on policy and legislators' adaptation to changes in district composition.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Dunaway, Johanna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Child Soldiers and Intrastate Armed Conflicts: An Analysis of the Recruitments of Child Soldiers in Civil Wars Between 2001 and 2003.

Description: This thesis examines why some governments and rebel organizations but not others recruit children to be child soldiers. The theory posits that if a country fights in a civil war of long duration, armed groups are more likely to recruit children as soldiers. I find that the probability of child soldier recruitment increases when a country experiences following conditions: a longer duration of civil war, a large proportion of battle deaths, a large number of refugees, a high infant mortality rate, and the presence of alluvial diamonds. An increase in education expenditures and civil liberties would decrease the probability of child soldier recruitments.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Samphansakul, Attaphorn
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Commander's Sword & the Executive's Pen: Presidential Success in Congress and the Use of Force.

Description: Post-force congressional rally effects are presented as a new incentive behind presidential decisions to use diversionary behavior. Using all key roll call votes in the House and Senate where the president has taken a position for the years 1948 to 1993, presidents are found to receive sharp decreases in both presidential support and success in Congress shortly after employing aggressive policies abroad. Evidence does suggest that presidents are able to capitalize on higher levels of congressional support for their policy preferences on votes pertaining to foreign or defense matters after uses of force abroad. But, despite these findings, diversionary behavior is found to hinder rather than facilitate troubled presidents' abilities to influence congressional voting behavior.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Ragland, James Deen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Contemporary Patterns of Democratic Norms and Political Participation in Mexico

Description: Mexico's cultural norms have been the subject of repeated inquiries because democratic and authoritarian patterns appear concomitantly. However, few have focused on the potential demographic and contextual sources of these divergent results. This study attempts to clarify the sources of Mexico's political culture, and then determine the extent to which these factors affect political participation. Statistical analysis of a LAPOP dataset from 2006 makes limited progress to this end. The sources of Mexican political culture remain somewhat a mystery, although some intriguing results were found. Most notably, demographic traits appear to have little influence on political culture variables and political participation rates in Mexico. In fact, political culture norms and political participation appears consistent across Mexico's infamous social and economic lines.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Ramsey, Adam Perry
Partner: UNT Libraries

Contextualizing the Law: Sentencing Decisions of Sexual Assault Cases of Dallas County, 1999-2005

Description: The incidence of sexual assault inundates the courts with many cases each year. Given the unique nature of the crime, judges and juries are faced with an array of different scenarios to which they are required to make fair, justifiable and consistent decisions. I examine child sexual assault cases of Dallas County 1999-2005, I look at both legal and extralegal factors including case characteristics, institutional characteristics and characteristics of the defendants and the victims. First, I examine the impact of the independent variables on sentence length using regression analysis to determine influences on sentencing for judges and juries. Second, I examine the same factors using Probit analysis to determine which characteristics make a life sentence more probable for those decision-makers.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Greening, Megan
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Czech Republic's Transition: The Environment and Human Rights

Description: This exploratory case study considers the Czech Republic from 1993 thru 2002 by examining two links: first, between transition and the environment.; second, between the environment and human rights. The study examines data from the Czech Ministry of Environment, the European Union, the World Bank, and Freedom House. The purpose of this study is to better understand the Czech Republic and to generate hypotheses that might be used in future cross-national studies. Chapter III provides the underlying theory linking the environment and human rights. Chapters IV, V, and VI discuss the data and the two links and suggest hypotheses for future research. Chapter VII draws conclusions about states in transition, the environment, and human rights and encourages future integrative research.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Buck, Ryan D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Decision-Making at the Court of Appeals Level Involving Religious Liberty Cases

Description: Many studies have been completed on factors affecting judicial decisions. Studies have focused on civil rights cases, economic cases, criminal cases, sexual discrimination and obscenity cases, but no work has specifically looked at religious liberty cases. This work examines the factors affecting United States Courts of Appeals judges' decision-making in religious liberty cases. I hypothesize that gender, race, religious background, prior judicial experience, circuit, region and litigant status will all influence the way judges vote in religious liberty cases. The explanatory power of this study is relatively low, but the results indicate that judges follow the law when making decisions in religious liberty cases.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Reeves, Susan Kay
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Destruction of a Society: A Qualitative Examination of the Use of Rape as a Military Tool

Description: This thesis explores the conditions under which mass rapes are more likely to be incorporated into the strategy of military or paramilitary groups during periods of conflict. I examine three societies, Rwanda , the former Yugoslavia , and Cambodia in a comparative analysis. To determine what characteristics make societies more likely to engage in rape as a military tool, I look at the status of women in the society, the religious cultures, the degree of female integration into the military institutions, the cause of the conflicts, the history of the conflict, and finally, the status of minority ethnic groups in each of these societies.
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Date: December 2004
Creator: Finley, Briana Noelle
Partner: UNT Libraries

Determinants of International Terrorist Group Formation, 1968-1999

Description: Terrorism has become a focus of much political thought over the past few years, and with good reason, yet most quantitative studies of terrorism investigate the likelihood of a terrorist incident while ignoring the precursors to terrorist group formation. I examine cases of new terrorist group formations between the years 1968 and 1999 as a function of domestic demographic, geographic, governmental and societal factors. This is done by Poisson regression analysis, which determines the significance of the independent variables on a count of new international terrorist group formations per country year. The results indicate that higher levels of material government capability, high levels of political freedom, the availability of low-cost refuge, and a cultural tradition of terrorism all have a positive impact on the number of new terrorist group formations, while a higher degree of governmental durability has a negative impact.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Worrell, Blake
Partner: UNT Libraries

Developing Capacity: The IMF's Impact on State Capacity

Description: The purpose of this thesis is to examine the impact of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans since the adoption of the governance mandate on overall government capability. The study will explore whether the presence of IMF loans in developing countries enhances state capacity. Administrative capacity is of particular importance because it is a requisite for the integration of state and society in the national political arena and encourages joint involvement of government and citizenry in overall representation of societal interests. The model designed to test the two primary hypotheses is comprised of a simultaneous system of equations. Despite criticisms of IMF conditionality arrangements, it appears that these programs are largely effective at increasing administrative capacity, an important factor in achieving economic growth and national ownership of IMF development programs.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Harper, Christine
Partner: UNT Libraries

Do As They Say, and As They Do: An Integrated Approach to the Study of Norm Influence on Truth Commission Initiation, 1976-2003

Description: Truth commissions are bodies established in political transition, and they have the stated purpose of reckoning with human rights abuses committed by members of former regimes. The question driving this research is "Why have truth commissions increased so rapidly in the last 20 years?" This study moves beyond current research, which suggests that particular domestic political circumstances alone determine choice of transitional justice mechanisms. I argue that an international rule of behavior, the transitional restorative norm, has emerged and spread to decision-makers in countries of transition. In support of this notion, I perform a pre-theoretical historical analysis of transitional justice and develop a theory of decision-making in transition-which is later tested with quantitative statistics. This integrated approach allows for increased scientific rigor in the examination of international norms. Ultimately, the study demonstrates an interrelationship between shared ideas and political environments in the determination of domestic policy.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Dancy, Geoffrey Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Do Different Political Regime Types Use Foreign Aid Differently to Improve Human Development?

Description: Existing literature on foreign aid does not indicate what type of political regime is best to achieve human development outcomes or use aid funds more efficiently. I contend that political leaders of different regime types have personal incentives that motivate them to utilize foreign aid to reflect their interests in providing more or less basic social services for their citizens. Using a data set of 126 aid-recipient countries between the years of 1990 and 2007, I employ fixed effects estimation to test the model. The overall results of this research indicate that foreign aid and democratic institutionalization have a positive effect on total enrollment in primary education, while political regime types show little difference from one another in providing public health and education for their citizens.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Phan, Thu Anh
Partner: UNT Libraries

Does Natural Resource Wealth Spoil and Corrupt Governments? A New Test of the Resource Curse Thesis

Description: Countries with rich natural resource endowments suffer from lower economic growth and various other ills. This work tests whether the resource curse also extends to the quality of regulation and the level of corruption. A theoretical framework is developed that informs the specification of interactive random effects models. A cross-national panel data set is used to estimate these models. Due to multicollinearity, only an effect of metals and ores exports on corruption can be discerned. Marginal effects computations show that whether nature corrupts or not crucially depends on a country's institutions. A broad tax base and high levels of education appear to serve as inoculations for countries against the side-effects of mineral wealth.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Petrovsky, Nicolai
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Domestic Politics of Entering International Communities: An Exploratory Analysis

Description: In the last thirty years, there has been a significant increase in the globalization process, or as other refer to it, the internationalization, free trade, or liberalization. This trend was reflected in the increasing number of newly formed international organization (economic and security) as well as in the increased membership in the already existing ones. The evidence of this trend has been particularly visible since the end of the Cold War, when the race of the Eastern European countries to enter international organizations has been as competitive as ever. Nonetheless, a number of countries, upon careful evaluation and consideration of membership, has opted out of the opportunity to enter such international agreements. The question that this paper addresses is how do countries decided whether to enter or not international organizations? In other words, what elements, processes, and motives lie behind the decision of countries to commit to a new membership? Most of the studies that have addressed this topic have done so from an international perspective as they addressed the politics between countries, as well as the costs and benefits in terms of power, sovereignty, and national income once in the organizations. This paper, on the other hand, approaches the issue from a comparative perspective, both economic and political. It attempts to answer the research question by looking at the domestic sources of decision -making and how they influence this decision. Namely, a decision to become more open to trade has several implications for a country, depending on its size, and already established trade openness, among other factors. The impact of increased openness will most seriously affect the domestic players, both negatively and positively. Thus, in considering the impact that the policy could have on their welfare, players align their interests in order to express their preferences on the issue ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Radin, Dagmar
Partner: UNT Libraries

Extreme Politics: An Analysis of the State Level Conditions Favoring Far Right Parties in the European Union

Description: Three models are developed to analyze the state level conditions fostering the rise of far right parties in the European Union in the last two decades. The political background of these parties is examined. This study offers a definition for far right parties, which combines several previous attempts. The research has focused on the effects of the number of the parties, immigration, and unemployment on support for the far right in Europe. Empirical tests, using a random effects model of fifty elections in eight nations, suggest that there are political, social, and economic conditions that are conducive to electoral success. Specifically, increases in the number of "effective" parties favor the far right, while electoral thresholds serve to dampen support. Immigration proves to be a significant variable. Surprisingly, changes in crime and unemployment rates have a negative effect on support for the far right. Suggestions for future research are offered.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Smith, Jason Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Foucault's Foundationless Democratic Theory

Description: I examine a key shift in Michel Foucault's political philosophy from a position in which he was a staunch anti-humanist, to a final position in which he advocated not only the ability of the subject to influence his political condition, but also the individual freedoms assured by a democratic form of government. I begin by summarizing his overall critique of the post-Enlightenment West, and then explain how his observation of the Iranian Revolution served as a key turning point concerning his attitude towards the subject. Next, I elaborate on the direction of Foucault's late writings and examine how his new conceptualization of the subject leads him to embrace a democratic political system albeit free from Enlightenment philosophical foundations. I conclude by critiquing Foucault's foundationless democratic theory on the basis that it would ultimately undermine the individual freedoms and aesthetic development that he seeks to protect.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Carter, Kelly A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Human Rights and the Strategic Use of US Foreign Food Aid

Description: How does respect for human rights affect the disbursement of food aid by US foreign policymakers? Scholars analyzing foreign aid generally look at only total economic aid, military aid or a combination of both. However, for a more nuanced understanding of human rights as a determinant of foreign aid, the discrete foreign aid programs must be examined. By disentangling component-programs from total aid, this analysis demonstrates how human rights influence policymakers by allowing them to distribute food aid to human rights abusing countries. Consequently, policymakers can promote strategic objectives with food aid, while legally restricted from distributing other aid. The primary theoretical argument, which links increasing human rights abuse with increasing food aid, is supported by results from a Heckman model. This procedure models the two-stage decision-making process where foreign policymakers first, select countries for aid and then, distribute aid to those selected.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Fariss, Christopher J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Gender on Domestic Human Rights Abuse

Description: This study develops three models of human rights determinants with the inclusion an untested variable, women in parliaments. The research is conducted on pooled cross-sectional time-series data from 130 countries between 1978 and 1996. For the purpose of analysis the Prais-Winsten Regression method with Panel Corrected Standard Errors was used. The women in power variable is hypothesized to be significantly, positively correlated with a state's propensity toward respect for human rights and is operationalized as percentage of women in parliaments. Three models incorporating as control variables previously identified correlates of human rights abuse were utilized to asses the impact of percentages of women in parliaments on two individual subsets of human rights: personal integrity rights and socio-economic rights. Two models were designed to measure the subset of rights categorized as personal integrity rights using two separate measures: State Department Scores and Amnesty International Scores. Model number three utilized the Physical Quality of Life Index to measure levels of socio-economic rights. Statistical significance was demonstrated by the women in parliament variable in all three models.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Godwin, Donna D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Middle Class Economic Strength on Civil Liberties Performance and Domestic and External Peace

Description: Using data for 93 countries from 1972 through 2001 in cross-national analysis, this study compares the relative economic strength of a country's middle-class with its civil liberties performance and its history of domestic and external conflict. For purposes of this analysis, the relative strength of a country's middle-class is determined by multiplying the square root of a country's gross domestic product per capita by the percentage of income distributed to the middle 60 % of the population (middle class income share). Comparisons between this measure of per capita income distributed (PCID) and several other indicators show the strength of the relationship between PCID and civil liberties performance and domestic and external conflict. In the same manner, comparisons are made for the middle class income share (MCIS) alone. The countries are also divided by level of PCID into 3 world classes of 31 countries each for additional comparisons. In tests using bivariate correlations, the relationships between PCID and MCIS are statistically significant with better civil liberties performance and fewer internal conflicts. With multivariate regression the relationship between PCID and civil liberties performance is statistically significant but not for PCID and internal conflict. As expected, in both correlations and regression between PCID and external conflict, variables related to power dominate. However, when the countries are divided into world classes by level of PCID, the eleven countries with the highest level of PCID have had no internal or external conflict since 1972. Moreover, there is no within group conflict for countries in either the upper or middle classes of countries based on their level of PCID. The between group conflict does include democracies.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Stedman, Joseph B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Informational Theory of Midterm Elections: The Impact of Iraq War Deaths on the 2006 Election.

Description: There has been much scholarly attention directed at the Iraq war's role in determining voter choice. I attempt to extend that research into voter turnout to determine what role the Iraq war played in 2006 voter turnout. This paper argues that turnout at the state level could be explained by the number of US deaths each state had sustained from the Iraq occupation at the time of the election. A theory of voter activation based on information availability is put forth to explain the relationship between national events and voter turnout wherein national events like the Iraq war will raise the amount of information voters have at their disposal, which will increase the likelihood of their voting on election day. Regression analysis comparing the turnout rates of the 50 states to their casualties in Iraq revealed no relationship between the two factors, indicating that something else is responsible for the high turnout of the midterm.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Kahanek, Jared E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Institutions and Drug Markets

Description: This thesis examines how drug policy and enforcement affect drug manufacturers. The approach taken is a comparative institutional analysis of cannabis and methamphetamine production. I focus on the effects of prohibition, privacy, and clandestine markets on producer behavior for these two drugs and the unintended consequences that result. I demonstrate that cannabis and methamphetamine producers both face substantial transaction costs and that producers alter their behavior to manage these transaction costs. I conclude that cannabis producers can adopt indoor, small-scale operations to hide their activity, which are capable of yielding continuous, high-potency crops. Methamphetamine producers also adopt small-scale, decentralized strategies, but commodity control increases their exposure and leads to greater overall transaction costs during the manufacturing process.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Haddock, Billy Dean
Partner: UNT Libraries

Judicial Creativity or Justice Being Served? A Look at the Use of Joint Criminal Enterprise in the ICTY Prosecution

Description: The development of joint criminal enterprise at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been controversial since the doctrine was first created in 1997. For the judgments rendered by the ICTY to be perceived as legitimate, the doctrines used to bring charges against defendants must also be perceived as legitimate. The purpose of my thesis is to study the application of joint criminal enterprise at the ICTY and examine how the doctrine has influenced the length of sentences given. I find that joint criminal enterprise may be influencing longer sentences and the three categories of joint criminal enterprise are being used differently on defendants of different power levels. By empirically analyzing the patterns developing at the ICTY, I can see how joint criminal enterprise is influencing sentencing and the fairness of trials.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Williams, Meagan
Partner: UNT Libraries