Political Science - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Lameduck leadership: The effects of interim leadership on party discipline

Date created: 
2018-05-16
Abstract: 

While party discipline has been studied extensively under standard conditions, there has to date been no work done on the impact of interim leadership on the incentives of legislators and in particular on the frequency of their dissent. Given the prevalence of interim leadership in both federal and provincial governments in Canada, this represents a significant gap in the literature. This paper seeks to explore the impact of interim leadership on incentives by developing a formal model of those incentives, based on existing work on regular leadership. It also discusses two different approaches to modelling sanctions, advancement, policy preferences, and policy outcomes, showing the impact of treating these as continuous choices as compared to treating them as dichotomous options. I find the policy position of the future leader has more importance under the assumption of continuous variables than the assumption of dichotomous variables.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Laurent Dobuzinskis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

You can’t teach an old dog green tricks: exploring the effect of ideology on forestry policy decisions by the 1991-1996 British Columbia New Democratic Party

Date created: 
2018-11-14
Abstract: 

This project explores the effect of ideology on the policy-making process through a case-study analysis of the NDP majority government which governed the province from 1991-1996. The focus is particularly on the NDP’s forest policy, with a strong environmental platform and public support promising extensive reforms but delivering much less than expected. While traditional policy literature largely sidelines ideology as a factor in rational decision-making by individual policy actors, I argue that it plays a much larger role by determining the very scope of policy-options available to decision-makers. Combining Michael Freeden’s Conceptual Approach to ideology with Frank Fischer’s Discourse Analysis, I present a variety of party documents and interviews to argue that the BC NDP had the institutional ability and popular support to enact far-reaching reforms, but were constrained by their own ideological framework into a modest change to the status quo.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Politics in the energy sector: using embedded autonomy to explain the 2016 end of the feed-in tariff program in Ontario

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-25
Abstract: 

During a period where climate change is an increasing Canadian and global problem, the government of Ontario stopped accepting new contracts for its feed-in tariff program in 2016 that promoted renewable energy source development. The concept of embedded autonomy explains how the three levels of stakeholders at the political, institutional and public levels interact to decide and implement energy policy. The results of the interaction between the three levels indicates that the political level in the province has the full ability to decide energy policy without including the other stakeholders. Germany provides an example of an energy sector that is more inclusive of non-political stakeholders, and the European state can provide lessons for further including the institutional and public stakeholders in Ontario to promote renewable energy source development.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Parsing public opinion: Examining the heterogeneous effects of same sex marriage legalization on mass attitudes in America

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-30
Abstract: 

Ordinarily, mass attitude change takes place slowly if at all. Many attitudes remain relatively stable over time and even generations. American attitudes on abortion, for example, have remained surprisingly consistent over time. In 1972, 49 percent of Americans favoured access to abortion for poor women and in 2016, 43 percent of Americans felt the same way. Contrast this with attitudes toward same sex marriage. In 1988, a mere 11.6 percent of Americans were in favour of legalizing same sex marriage. In 2016, 59.2 percent were in favour of granting same sex couples the right to marry (Rosenfeld, 2017). This 47 point rise in support represents a remarkable turnaround in mass public opinion. Recent research suggests that public opinion formation is not strictly a bottom up process with individuals as paramount, but that institutions and official policy play a role (Soss and Schram, 2007). So how does the legalization of same sex marriage affect mass opinion? Previous results suggest that legalization leads to an increase in support for the policy. But these analyses treat legalization as constituting a uniform treatment effect. I use data from the 2008, 2012 and 2016 American National Election Surveys to determine if the effect of legalization on opinion is heterogeneous based on psychological predispositions. My results indicate that individuals do respond differently to policy change based on their levels of authoritarianism and ethnocentrism.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Challenges and opportunities for increasing foreign direct investment in Central Asia: the case of energy in Uzbekistan

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-28
Abstract: 

This research aims to identify the challenges and opportunities to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the energy sector in Uzbekistan and to identify possible ways to improve the investment climate based upon a comparative analysis of the Central Asian region. The approach of this study is to create a synergy between the discipline of political science and business realities with a focus on policy recommendations. An underlying hypothesis is that the strong nationalization of the energy sector and the lack of an attractive business climate in Uzbekistan hinder FDI inflow; therefore, liberalization policies may stimulate the interest of foreign energy companies. The findings of this study suggest that the government of Uzbekistan should focus on FDI determinants such as business climate, trade openness, political stability, transparency, and infrastructure in order to improve overall investment environment and attract foreign capital.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Millennials and the military: The emerging civil-military gap

Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

The focus of this project is to understand the impact of the Millennial generational persona on the future of defence policy in Canada. Using focus groups and survey data, this project examines the perspectives that Millennial students have about defence issues and military organizations such as the CAF and NATO. Through this examination, it appears that Millennials are distinct from older generations on many defence issues including their evaluation and awareness of the CAF and NATO and how they understand and prioritize threats. Due to this, it is likely that the civil-military gap between civil and military society will grow as Millennials become more influential in society. Additionally, this project examines the relationship between interaction and awareness with the CAF and NATO and Millennial evaluation of these organizations. The findings suggest that interaction with the CAF and NATO has a strong impact on evaluation and awareness of military organizations.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alex Moens
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Using publicity to get medicine: How political participation can alter world trade policy and secure medicines for the global poor

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-18
Abstract: 

Despite HIV becoming a manageable illness due to advancements in pharmaceuticals, over a million people still die every year due to AIDS – most of them poor, in the global South, who cannot afford to pay for treatment. What might allow them to secure medicines? My study of changes in trade policy shows that agreements originally designed to favour pharmaceutical companies can be implemented in ways that lead to increases in access to medicines for the global poor. I argue that domestic and international activism creates global public pressure, and is the key to altering the trajectory of trade policy implementation. Because access to affordable medicines for the global poor is more likely to occur when trade policies face public scrutiny, I call for transparent and accessible trade negotiations and enforcement in the WTO. In essence, I call for a democratization of the international trade regime.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Emissions Trading vs. Carbon Taxes: What Gets Us Closer to a Zero Emissions Future? Lessons from European Implementations

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-19
Abstract: 

In 2017, following the Paris Agreement, the current federal government changed Canada’s stance on climate change policy by requiring provinces to implement their own carbon pricing mechanisms by 2018. The provinces are to choose between Carbon Taxes and Emissions Trading Systems. I ask which produces the best results for provinces who have not yet implemented pricing. Using Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Spain, along with the European Union Emissions Trading System I assess the results these mechanisms have produced over an extended period of time. I find that emission reductions across jurisdictions are inconsistent but provide policy lessons for Canada, both federally and provincially. I also find that federalism in Canada provides its own toughest challenges when it comes to the implementation of consistent policies. As global pressure intensifies on carbon mitigation and emissions reduction, I find three types of costs for the federal government’s consideration to reduce its carbon footprint.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Andrew Heard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Discerning Claim Making: Political Representation of Indo-Canadians by Canadian Political Parties

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-21
Abstract: 

The targeting of people of colour by political parties during election campaigns is often described in the media as “wooing” or “courting.” How parties engage or “woo” non-whites is not fully understood. Theories on representation provide a framework for the systematic analysis of the types of representation claims made by political actors. I expand on the political proximity approach—which suggests that public office seekers make more substantive than symbolic claims to their partisans than to non-aligned voters—by arguing that Canadian political parties view mainstream voters as their typical constituents and visible minorities, such as Indo-Canadians, as peripheral constituents. Consequently, campaign messages targeted at mainstream voters include more substantive claims than messages targeted at non-white voters. I conduct a content analysis of political advertisements placed during the 2004–2015 general election campaigns in Punjabi and mainstream Canadian newspapers. The analysis shows that political parties make more symbolic than substantive claims in both categories of newspapers; however, Punjabi newspapers contain slightly more symbolic claims than the mainstream ones. The Liberals and NDP make more substantive claims in Punjabi newspapers than the Conservatives.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eline de Rooij
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Arms Control on the Eve of Destruction? The Prospects for an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in an Age of Counterforce Dominance

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-19
Abstract: 

Within the context of the U.S.-Russian nuclear competition, this dissertation investigates the feasibility of cooperation on an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone. The strategic dimension has been largely neglected in assessing the potential for establishing an arms control regime in a region of such geo-strategic importance. In the tradition of offence-defence theory, this work stems from the assumption that conditions defined by a reduction in threatening strategic behaviour must be established between the two Arctic nuclear powers before such an initiative can move forward in the form of cooperation. This work proposes a refined Offence-Defence Balance model to assess the intensity of the strategic competition between two nuclear states under conditions dominated by Deterrence by Denial versus Deterrence by Punishment nuclear strategies. Qualitative indicators of sea, air, and land-based delivery platforms for nuclear forces oriented towards the offense or defence, including plans for nuclear modernization, ballistic missile defence, and conventional counterforce alternatives, assessed in conjunction with offensive or defensive nuclear postures determine whether nuclear states are likely to engage in cooperative initiatives towards arms control or competition and arms races. The assessment demonstrates that efforts by the U.S. to achieve nuclear superiority through counterforce dominance have resulted in actions by its principal nuclear competitor to pursue nuclear postures and delivery technologies that offset the U.S. nuclear advantage. Such conditions intensify the strategic competition, creating a nuclear security dilemma, which generates new arms races, and challenge the future of arms control treaties such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and militate against cooperation on new arms control initiatives such as an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug Ross
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.