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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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Latino Attitudes Toward Abortion and Marriage Equality: Examining the Influence of Religiosity, Acculturation, and Non-Response

Description: This article seeks to extend literature on Latinos' policy preferences by examining the influence of multiple dimensions of acculturation and religiosity on two contemporary moral policy issues: abortion and same-sex marriage.
Date: 2014
Creator: Branton, Regina; Franco, Ana B.; Wenzel, Jim & Wrinkle, Robert D.
Partner: UNT College of Arts and Sciences

When Race Matters: The Influence of Race on Case Clearances in Capital vs. Non-Capital Homicides in Texas

Description: Texas leads the nation in the number of executions carried out since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Race was a key factor in the 1972 moratorium, and though the Supreme Court allowed for its return under new statutes, race continues to plague the capital punishment legal system. In this study, I examine the influence of race on case clearances in capital and non-capital homicides in Texas, using the extra-legal and non-discretionary theories from existing clearance literature. I find that race influences the probability of cases being cleared in non-capital cases but has no statistically significant effect in clearing capital cases.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Samaniego, Rebekah
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Minority Hiv Rates, Inequality, and the Politics of Aids Funding

Description: Since the 1990s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has increasingly impacted minority groups in the United States, particularly African Americans. Why is this happening? Comparative studies of developing nations have convincingly established a relationship between concentrated poverty, ethnic boundaries, and lack of effective governmental response as contributing to high levels of infection in those countries. To date, however, no study has sought to apply these insights to the American context. This dissertation endeavors to show that, first, marginalization of U.S. sub-groups most at risk of infection is largely a product of poor health outcomes associated with concentrated urban poverty and economic stratification. Second, this sub-group marginalization is exacerbated by the politics of retrenchment which increasingly privatizes risks onto individuals, states, and non-governmental providers. The net result of these changes is a U.S. health care system too fractured to recognize and respond to changes in HIV/AIDS demographics.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Miles, Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries