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The King Arrives: Chinese Government Inspections and Their Effects

Description: This dissertation studies a critical facet of Chinese politics, inspections by higher Chinese government to villages. Principally, it looks at how village economic development determines government inspection decisions and how inspections, once conducted, impact village politics. Specifically, I argue that villages perceived as destabilizing to the Chinese regime, villages with higher levels of economic inequality and villages located at the two extremes of economic development, should see more inspections. In addition, I argue that inspections, in return, drive village politics: they increase village leaders' governing efficacy and raise villagers' political awareness. This theory has received strong support from both field work and quantitative empirical tests using the Chinese Household Income Project (2002) dataset.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Xi, Jinrui

Elections and Authoritarian Rule: Causes and Consequences of Adoption of Grassroots Elections in China

Description: This dissertation investigates the relationship between elections and authoritarian rule with a focus on the case of China's adoption of elections at the grassroots level. In this dissertation, I look at the incentives facing Chinese local governments in choosing between holding competitive elections or state-controlled elections, and how the selection of electoral rules shapes the public's preferences over political institutions and influences the citizens' political behaviors, especially voting in elections and participation in contentious activities. The overarching theme in this dissertation proposes that the sources and consequences of Chinese local elections are conditioned on the state-owned resources and the governing costs. When the amount of state-owned resources to rule the local society is limited, the paucity of resources will incentivize authoritarian governments to liberalize grassroots elections to offset the governance costs. The various levels of election liberalization will lead to different consequences in the public's political behavior. An abundance of state-owned resources not only discourages rulers from sharing power with the local society, but also supplies the rulers with strong capacity to obtain loyalty from voters when elections are adopted. As a result, elections under authoritarian governments with an abundance of state-owned resources will see more loyalist voters than elections with authoritarian governments with fewer state-owned resources. In addition, the varieties of election practices will exert impacts on public opinion toward the authoritarian government: awareness of elections will enhance public trust in the government and decrease the public's intention to challenge the incumbents' authority while at the same time increasing the public's faith in the institutions, thereby encouraging the public to adopt official channels to air their grievances. The analysis of the village-level as well as individual-level survey data and cases lends empirical supports to the argument. First, I find that the governing costs—measured by the size of labor force—are ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Tzeng, Wei Feng

Crossing Over: Essays on Ethnic Parties, Electoral Politics, and Ethnic Social Conflict

Description: This dissertation analyzes several topics related to political life in ethnically divided societies. In chapter 2, I study the relationship between ethnic social conflict, such as protests, riots, and armed inter-ethnic violence, and bloc partisan identification. I find that protests have no effect on bloc support for political parties, riots increase bloc partisan identification, and that armed violence reduces this phenomenon. In chapter 3, I analyze the factors that influence the targeting of ethnic groups by ethnic parties in social conflict. I find some empirical evidence that conditions favorable to vote pooling across ethnic lines reduce group targeting by ethnic parties. In chapter 4, I analyze the effects of ethnic demography on ethnic party behavior. Through a qualitative analysis of party behavior in local elections in Macedonia, I find that ethnic parties change their strategies in response to changes in ethnic demography. I find that co-ethnic parties are less likely to challenge each other for power under conditions of split demography. In fact, under conditions of split demography, I find that co-ethnic parties have political incentives to unite behind a single party because intra-group competition jeopardizes the group's hold on power.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Stewart, Brandon

Knowing What is Useful: Rousseau's Education Concerning Being, Science, and Happiness

Description: Is there a relationship between science and happiness and, if so, what is it? Clearly, since the Enlightenment, science has increased life expectancy and bodily comfort. Is this happiness, or do humans long for something more? To examine these questions, I investigate the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Specifically, I focus on the Discourses and the Emile, as he states in the Confessions that these works form a whole statement concerning the natural goodness of man. I agree with the literature that finds happiness, for Rousseau, is a sentiment one experiences when their faculties correspond to their desires, as this produces wholeness. In this dissertation, I find a form of modern science is necessary for humans to experience higher forms of happiness. This form of science is rooted in utility of the individual. To fully explain this finding, I begin with Rousseau's concept of being. By nature, our being experiences a low form of wholeness. I show Rousseau's investigation of being exposes a catch-22 situation for developing it to experience higher forms of wholeness. While freedom allows us to develop reason and judgment, we need reason and judgment to properly direct our freedom to perfect our individual being. I then show how three different types of tutors and educators, which include a scientific education, are directed by the single goal of maintaining wholeness in Emile's being so he can achieve the happiness of romantic love. Finally, I find that Emile's scientific education is an elaboration of the First Discourse and that his relationship with science, even from birth, plays a critical role for achieving romantic love in the future.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Gross, Benjamin Isaak

Territorial Issue Salience: Escalation, Resources, and Ethnicity

Description: Conflict over territory is a major concern to scholars and policymakers, and much of conflict over territory is driven by the issues that make territory more or less attractive, or salient, to states. I examine the impact that tangible and intangible issue salience has on territorial claims, and in particular, how it drives both conflict and conflict escalation. I argue that intangible issues, such as ethnic or religious kin, plays a greater role in driving more severe forms of armed conflict and conflict escalation, compared to tangible factors such as natural resources. This is theorized to be due to the difficulty in dividing territory with intangible elements, as well as domestic political pressure driving leaders to escalate. These suppositions are supported, with the finding that identity plays a particularly crucial and unique role in driving states to more severe forms of armed conflict. Further, I examine how natural resources may be viewed by states by their type and form of utilization, with certain resources likely to be more valuable or strategic to states based on their rarity, concentration, or ease of substitution, based in part on a state's level of development. The results support a fairly uniform role of natural resources, with particular resources and combinations of resources serving to drive low level conflict, but with generally little impact on severe forms of armed conflict. Development also is found to play a role, driving poorer states to dispute natural resources of certain types. Lastly, I return to the topic of conflict over territory with an ethnic dimension by examining the role of issue indivisibility in the negotiations process, and find that negotiated settlements are harder to reach, and states more likely to favor unilateral action when disputing territory with an ethnic or religious component compared to other types of issues ...
Date: August 2017
Creator: Macaulay, Christopher Cody

The Relationship between Judicial Independence and Ethnic Conflict

Description: The relationship between judicial independence and the levels of ethnic conflicts in developing countries has remained a significant research area due to increased cases of the conflicts with lack of judicial independence in the countries. Judicial independence is seen as an essential element of democracy in that an independent judiciary can act as an arbiter between different groups and institutions. The main aim of this study was to examine the relationship between judicial independence and ethnic conflicts empirically. Greater judicial independence should be associated with less ethnic conflict, because an independent court can serve as an arbiter for disputants, and thus lessen the likelihood of conflict. The study involved 128 developing countries over a 30-year period from 1981 to 2010 using secondary data sources and employing statistical methods to test the relationship between judicial independence and the levels of ethnic conflicts. Findings indicate that judicial independence has a statistically significant negative association with the levels of ethnic conflict. Therefore, this study recommends that the governments of developing countries should promote judicial independence as part of solutions for ethnic conflicts .
Date: May 2017
Creator: Laoye, Oluwagbemiso

Protests in China: Why and Which Chinese People Go to the Street?

Description: This research seeks to answer why and which Chinese people go to the street to protest. I argue that different sectors of Chinese society differ from each other regarding their tendencies to participate in protest. In addition to their grievances, the incentives to participate in protest and their capacities to overcome the collective action problem all needed to be taken into account. Using individual level data along with ordinary binary logistic regression and multilevel logistic regression models, I first compare the protest participation of workers and peasants and find that workers are more likely than peasants to participate in protests in the context of contemporary China. I further disaggregate the working class into four subtypes according to the ownership of the enterprises they work for. I find that workers of township and village enterprises are more likely than workers of state-owned enterprises to engage in protest activities, while there is no significant difference between the workers of domestic privately owned enterprises and the workers of foreign-owned enterprises regarding their protest participation. Finally, I find that migrant workers, which refers to peasants who move to urban areas in search of jobs, are less likely than urban registered workers to participate in protests.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Chen, Yen-Hsin

The Strength of a Witness: Empowerment and Resiliency in the Aftermath of Atrocity

Description: Victims and witnesses that testify before an international criminal tribunal such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) willingly subject themselves to scrutiny and bare their wounds before the world. Does this experience cause these vulnerable individuals undue psychological harm, re-traumatization, or worse? Existing literature indicates this may be the case, however using a new dataset I find the opposite to be true. Witnesses at the ICTY report feeling more positive than negative after their experiences on the stand. As the first systematic study on witness mental wellbeing, these findings contradict expectations found in previous research.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McKay, Melissa

A History of Overcoming: Nietzsche on the Moral Antecedents and Successors of Modern Liberalism

Description: This work aims to understand human moral psychology under modern liberalism by analyzing the mature work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I seek to understand and evaluate Nietzsche's claim that liberalism, rather than being an overturning of slave morality, is an extension of the slave morality present in both Judaism and Christianity. To ground Nietzsche's critique of liberalism theoretically, I begin by analyzing his "master" and "slave" concepts. With these concepts clarified, I then apply them to Nietzsche's history by following his path from Judaism to liberalism and beyond--to his "last man" and Übermensch. I find that Nietzsche views history as a series of overcomings wherein a given mode of power maintenance runs counter to the means by which power was initially attained. Liberalism, as the precursor and herald of the "last man," threatens the end of overcoming and therefore compromises the future of human valuation and meaning.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Gill, Rodney W

Friends of the State Courts: Organized Interests and State Courts of Last Resort

Description: Why do interest groups participate in state courts of last resort by filing amicus curiae briefs? Are they influential when they do? This dissertation examines these questions using an original survey of organized interests that routinely participate in state supreme courts, as well as data on all amicus curiae briefs and majority opinions in over 14,000 cases decided in all fifty-two state supreme courts for a four year period. I argue that interest groups turn to state judiciaries to achieve the dual goals of influencing policy and organizational maintenance, as amicus briefs can help organized interests achieve both outcomes. Furthermore, I contend that amicus briefs are influential in shaping judicial policy-making through the provision of legally persuasive arguments. The results suggest that interest groups do file amicus briefs to both lobby for their preferred policies and to support their organization's long-term viability. Additionally, the results indicate that organized interests also participate in counteractive lobbying in state courts of last resort by filing amicus briefs to ensure their side is represented and to dull the effect of oppositional amici. The findings also demonstrate support for the influence of amicus briefs on judicial policy-making on state high courts, as amicus briefs can influence the ideological direction of the court's majority opinions. Overall, this research extends our understanding of interest group lobbing in the judiciary and in state policy venues, and provides insight into judicial politics and policy-making on state courts of last resort.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Perkins, Jared David

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

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 later stages of the interaction. Conversely, dissidents also perform as strategic actors in an attempt to gain their preferred concessions and outcomes. Although their comprehension of the coercive capacity of a regime is limited, their knowledge of the repressive capacity of the regime provides them with the understanding of their future fate if they escalate to violence against the regime. This project is conducted using two theories on regime and dissident actions and responses, two large-N empirical analyses of regime and dissident behaviors during nonviolent and violent dissident campaigns from 1945-2006, and two historical case studies of Egypt and Syria ...
Date: August 2016
Creator: Backstrom, Jeremy R

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

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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Pettey, Samantha

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

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 doctrines: Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, the church and family, and Christian political life.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Kearns, Kevin M

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

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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Keels, Eric

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

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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ferris, Rachel E

Foreign Sponsorship and the Development of Rebel Parties

Description: This dissertation examines the emergence, survival, performance, and national impact of rebel parties following negotiated settlements. Building on a growing literature examining the environmental and organizational factors affecting insurgent-to-party transformations, this dissertation asks why some insurgent organizations thrive as political parties in post-conflict environments and others fail to make such a transformation. I propose that foreign actors play a pivotal role in the formation of what I call “protégé parties,” which are better equipped to make the transformation into political parties than other rebel groups. Further, different kinds of sponsors have varying effects on transformation. Empirical analysis supports these propositions, finding that protégé parties with authoritarian sponsorship are better equipped to develop than those backed by democracies or no one.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Marshall, Michael C.

Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

Description: It has become something of a cliché for contemporary scholars to assert that Madison turned Montesquieu on his head and thereafter give little thought to the Frenchman’s theory that republics must remain limited in territorial size. Madison did indeed present a formidable challenge to Montesquieu’s theory, but I will demonstrate in this dissertation that the authors of the Federalist Papers arrived at the extended sphere by following a theoretical pathway already cemented by the French philosopher. I will also show that Madison’s “practical sphere” ultimately concedes to Montesquieu that excessive territorial size and high levels of heterogeneity will overwhelm the citizens of a republic and enable the few to oppress the many. The importance of this dissertation is its finding that the principal mechanism devised by the Federalists for dealing with factions—the enlargement of the sphere—was crafted specifically for the purpose of moderating interests, classes, and sects within an otherwise relatively homogeneous nation. Consequently, the diverse republic that is America today may be exposed to the existential threat anticipated by Montesquieu’s theory of size—the plutocratic oppression of society by an elite class that employs the strategy of divide et impera.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Drummond, Nicholas W.

Hobbes’s Deceiving God: the Correspondence Between Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes

Description: In presenting their correspondence, I highlight the means in which Hobbes is able to divorce nature and politics in his philosophy. This is done by bringing to light Hobbes’s agreement with Descartes’s deceiving God argument. First, I demonstrate Hobbes’s hidden agreement with it by analyzing his objection to Descartes’s first Meditation. Second, I show that Hobbes and Descartes both retreat into consciousness in order to deal with the possibility of deception on the behalf of God. Third, I trace Hobbes’s rational justification for entertaining that very possibility. Fourth, I bring forward Hobbes’s certain principle, that God is incomprehensible. Fifth, I demonstrate Hobbes’s rationalization for rendering nature incomprehensible in turn. From this key insight, the differences between the two philosophers stand out more. Whereas Descartes rids himself of the possibility of a deceiving God, Hobbes does not. Sixth, I show that Descartes needs to rid himself of that possibility in order to have a basis for science, Hobbes’s science is such that he does not need to rid himself of that possibility. My investigation ends by considering both Hobbes’s and Descartes’s stance on nature, in relation to politics. I find that Hobbes’s principle is much more practical that Descartes’s principle. Hobbes’s principle is shown to be much more instructive and sustainable for human life. In conclusion, this analysis of the origins, principles, and orientation of the two philosopher’s thought brings forward the overarching question, whether the recovery of value and meaning is to be brought about in nature, or in civilization.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Gorescu, Gabriela

The Political Philosophy of Rabelais’s Pantagruel: Reconciling Thought and Action

Description: Political thinkers of the Renaissance, foremost among them Niccolò Machiavelli and Desiderius Erasmus, authored works commonly referred to as “mirrors of princes.” These writings described how princes should rule, and also often recommended a certain arrangement or relationship between the intellectual class and the political powers. François Rabelais’s five books of Pantagruel also depict and recommend a new relationship between these elements of society. For Rabelais, the tenets of a philosophy that he calls Pantagruelism set the terms between philosophers and rulers. Pantagruelism, defined in Rabelais’s Quart Livre as “gaiety of spirit confected in contempt for fortuitous things,” suggest a measured attitude toward politics. Rabelais’s prince, Pantagruel, accordingly rejects the tendencies of ancient thinkers such as Diogenes the Cynic who viewed politics as futile. Yet Pantagruel also rejects the anti-theoretical disposition of modern thinkers such as Machiavelli who placed too much confidence in politics. I demonstrate how Rabelais warns against the philosophers’ entrance into public service, and how he simultaneously promotes a less selfish philosophy than that of Diogenes. I argue that Pantagruel’s correction of his friend Panurge through the consultations of experts regarding the latter’s marriage problem shows that fortune will always trouble human life and politics. I also argue that Pantagruel’s rule over the kingdom of Utopia exemplifies a Socratic form of rule—reluctant rule—which relies on a trust that necessity (embodied in the Tiers Livre in the Pantagruelion plant) and not fortune (embodied in the Tiers Livre in Panurge’s future wife) governs the world, including the political world.
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Date: August 2015
Creator: Haglund, Timothy

Friendship, Politics, and the Good in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Description: In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX provide A philosophic examination of friendship. While these Books initially appear to be non sequiturs in the inquiry, a closer examination of the questions raised by the preceding Books and consideration of the discussion of friendship's position between two accounts of pleasure in Books VII and X indicate friendship's central role in the Ethics. In friendship, Aristotle finds a uniquely human capacity that helps readers understand the good is distinct from pleasure by leading them to think seriously about what they can hold in common with their friends throughout their lives without changing who they are. What emerges from Aristotle's account of friendship is a nuanced portrait of human nature that recognizes the authoritative place of the intellect in human beings and how its ability to think about an end and hold its thinking in relation to that end depends upon whether it orders or is ordered by pleasures and pains. Aristotle lays the groundwork for this conclusion throughout the Ethics by gradually disclosing pleasures and pains are not caused solely by things we feel through the senses, but by reasoned arguments and ideas as well. Through this insight, we can begin to understand how Aristotle's Ethics is a work of political philosophy; to fully appreciate the significance of his approach, however, we must contrast his work with that of Thomas Hobbes, his harshest Modern critic. Unlike Aristotle, Hobbes is nearly silent on friendship in his political philosophy, and examining his political works especially Leviathan reveals the absence of friendship is part of his deliberate attempt to advance a politics founded on the moral teaching that pleasure is the good. Aristotle's political philosophy, by way of contrast, aims to preserve the good, and through friendship, he not only disentangles the good from ...
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Date: May 2015
Creator: Pascarella, John Antonio

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

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 understanding of what practices are most crucial for achieving peace and stability.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Nichols, Angela D.

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

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.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Perkins, Jared D.

Plebiscites

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.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Fonseca Acosta, Rosa

The First Days of Spring: An Analysis of the International Treatment of Homosexuality

Description: In recent history, the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons have been in constant fluctuation. Many states criminalize homosexual behavior while other states legally recognize same-sex marriages and same-sex adoptions. There are also irregular patterns where LGBT interest groups form across the globe. With this research project, I begin to explain why these discrepancies in the treatment of homosexuality and the formation of LGBT interest groups occur. I develop a theory that the most obvious contrast across the globe occurs when analyzing the treatment of homosexuals in OECD member states versus non-OECD countries. OECD nations tend to see the gay community struggle for more advanced civil rights and government protections, while non-OECD states have to worry about fundamental human rights to life and liberty. I find that this specific dichotomization is what causes the irregular LGBT interest group formation pattern across the globe; non-OECD nations tend to have fewer LGBT interest groups than their OECD counterparts. When looking at why non-OECD nations and OECD nations suppress the rights of their gay citizens, I find that religion plays a critical role in the suppression of the gay community. In this analysis, I measure religion several different ways, including the institution of an official state religion as well as the levels of religiosity within a nation. Regardless of how this variable is manipulated and measured, statistical analysis continuously shows that religion’s influence is the single most significant factor in leading to a decrease in both human and civil rights for gays and lesbians across the globe. Further analysis indicates that Judaism plays the most significant role out the three major world religions in the suppression of civil rights for homosexuals in OECD nations.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Galvan, Michael R.