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

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Kingdon's Multiple Streams Model and the Window of Opportunity for Improved Aboriginal Employment and Skills Development Outcomes

Date created: 
2014-08-15
Abstract: 

A rapidly growing and relatively young Aboriginal population in Canada has renewed concerns regarding the severe poverty experienced by this community. Statistics Canada estimates the Aboriginal population in Canada could reach between 1.7 million and 2.2 million by 2031. As a nation, Canadian history offers much to celebrate and be proud of, although the mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples remains a shameful chapter. Moreover, a tenuous relation between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians has resulted in poor policy outcomes. Aboriginal peoples are grossly under-represented in skilled trades employment sectors and the dismal rate of unemployment for Aboriginal peoples at both the national and provincial levels far exceeds that of the non-Aboriginal population. Therefore, comprehensive policy proposals to address some of the hardships and challenges experienced by Aboriginal peoples and their respective communities are urgently needed. In this study, the Multiple Streams model presented by Professor John Kingdon is utilized as the framework to assess whether the timing is suitable for substantial policy innovation concerning Aboriginal employment and skills development to mitigate the problems they face. According to Kingdon, the convergence of multiple streams consisting of problems, politics, and policies may indicate the opening of a policy window. Such a window presents an opportunity for policy entrepreneurs to push a policy proposal that addresses a particular problem higher on the policy agenda. The application of Kingdon’s model will reveal that natural resources can provide Aboriginal peoples a ladder for economic development, and there is a precise opportunity for policy innovation to facilitate improved employment and skills training outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Appropriate policy initiatives in this window of opportunity could well offer Aboriginal peoples a remarkable opportunity to shift their overall socio-economic status from one of destitution to prosperity. However, there is reason for ample scepticism based on the deeply-rooted mistrust of some Aboriginal communities towards resource development, particularly in light of ongoing land claims issues in Canada. While resource development may not be relevant to, or supported by, some Aboriginal communities, many would benefit significantly.

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

Improving Public Secondary Education in Brazil: Opening Doors and Breaking the Cycle

Date created: 
2013-11-04
Abstract: 

While victories have been claimed at the primary and tertiary levels in recent years by successive governments, reflecting their shift to social issues, Brazilian public high schools are still far from receiving adequate policy attention and funding. As a result of the poor quality and quantity of public secondary education, the bulk of the population (of lower socio-economic status) is underrepresented at the university level. This study examines — both on theoretical and empirical grounds — whether the education policies implemented during the administration of Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva (2003–2010) were founded on the needs of students and appropriate for the obstacles at hand. It discusses the literature on factors that affect educational outcomes. It then presents findings from the case study conducted in the state of Goiás. Lastly, based on the quantitative and qualitative information collected, policy recommendations are put forth, keeping in mind the national goals of moving forward as a nation through providing its citizens the necessary tools to thrive. In addition to the potential to improve the national economy, enhancing the quality of the education offered in public high schools could serve to improve the ability of students of lower socio-economic status in being admitted into universities, increasing their life-chances and the possibility of higher incomes – ultimately, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and moving Brazil forward in the face of the knowledge economy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Resolving the paradox of location in a global economy: cluster facilitation and network management in the biotechnology sector

Date created: 
2014-01-23
Abstract: 

Cluster policy is at the crossroads as governments widely support the local agglomeration of companies and research institutes, but success or failure seems arbitrary for those ‘Silicon Somewheres’. Faced with limited proof of ‘what works’ for clusters, frustration is spreading among policy makers and stakeholders. The study offers a comparative analysis of high-technology clusters around the globe with the objective of finding a generalizable mechanism for making cluster policy successful. Interviews conducted with officials, researchers and industry stakeholders in Chicago, Copenhagen, Singapore and Vancouver reveal that networks have found a novel way of cluster support by having a ‘facilitator’. This network management institution or individual is able to connect and support cluster stakeholders while simultaneously linking them to government with the goal of better tailored policy and ultimately more successful innovative processes. The dissertation offers a new theoretical framework for investigating the facilitation mechanism based on intersecting science and technology policy, network management and innovation systems literature. The study highlights the fact that the key to success is the creation of capacity for networking (collaborative capacity) and identifying useful knowledge, knowledge gaps and future developments (absorptive capacity) rather than focusing solely on output. The central findings are threefold: Not only does facilitation exist in different parts of the world, it also enhances performance and varies depending on location. The variations include a government- and stakeholder-funded model in most European countries, an independent model in North America and finally, a government-financed model in Asia.

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

High Frequency Trading, the SEC, and the Legacy of the Flash Crash

Date created: 
2013-12-13
Abstract: 

High-frequency trading (HFT) is a significant evolution in financial markets which, combined with the Flash Crash of May 6th 2010, has been the impetus for many calls for regulation in the United States. This paper addresses the question regulation in two ways. First, is a review of the literature on the effects of high-frequency trading on the equities markets. The conclusion drawn from this review is that high-frequency trading generally improves quality (HFT passivity) but carries the potential to have negative effects during times of abnormal market behaviour (HFT aggression). This is used to inform an evaluation schema for the various regulatory proposals. Second, this schema is applied to various types of proposals for the regulation of high-frequency trading. The conclusion of this paper is that order-submission restrictions based upon price range are the best tool for promoting passivity among high-frequency traders while limiting the potential for aggressive behaviour.

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.

Selective Incentives and the Creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve System

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-11-15
Abstract: 

There has yet to be reached a decisive consensus on the primary motivations behind the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The debate typically revolves around the question of the main beneficiaries, whether it was a small elite of national bankers, or society as a whole. In other words, was the Fed created to redistribute wealth, in the form of rents, to this financial elite, or was it created to provide a public good, i.e. a stable monetary framework, the benefits of which would be enjoyed widely? By clarifying the conditions leading to the creation of the Fed, and identifying those who benefited or were harmed by it, we can progress towards a resolution of the rent-seeking vs. public good debate. The conclusion is that a third explanation, selective incentives, will incorporate much of the two preceding explanations and most accurately account for the creation of the Federal Reserve.

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

Mobile phones versus water provision in Africa: What explains the variation in the access and the levels of investment?

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-11-21
Abstract: 

The objective of this exploratory study is to explore the differences in the regulatory frameworks of two African countries, Ghana and Kenya, related to water and the telecommunications industry. The most important factors influencing the willingness to invest in both industries and the percentage change in access to services have been identified and evaluated. The project contributes to the understanding of the contrast between the comparatively high rates of investment and substantial progress made in cellular service provision on one hand, and of the comparatively lower levels of investment and slower incremental change in the access to clean water on the other. The purpose is to ask whether it is possible to learn from the achievements made in the ICT sector in order to enhance the efforts in provision of services in water sector (and vice versa), both in terms of increasing investments and increasing access to improved water sources.

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

What matters? exploring youth political participation in Western democracies

Date created: 
2013-09-05
Abstract: 

Researchers examining youth political participation largely fall within one of two camps: the first argues that youth participation is in decline, the second that this youngest demographic of voters still participates, but in new and unconventional ways. I aim to advance the academic debate on youth political participation by identifying and categorizing prevalent forms of youth political participation, both online and offline. By doing so, I also aim to contribute insights about the potential to influence youth political participation by identifying and examining relationships between the prevalence of participatory acts and the presence of particular features of participation. I address the extent to which, and how, youths are politically engaged both online and offline in western democracies. In order to do so I investigate dimensions of participation – including whether acts are interactive and the amount of resources they require – to discover whether they relate to the likelihood that youths will participate in political activity. I then examine existing survey reports to determine the prevalence of various forms of youth political participation in three Western democracies: the United States (U.S.), Australia and Canada. In doing so, I illustrate that youths are politically active but have moved away from traditional political activities, and instead seek out alternative avenues for participation, especially online.

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.

The levels of termination: a predictive model for policy termination

Date created: 
2013-08-19
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the role that ideology plays in the policy termination process. By isolating the role of ideology, I am able to observe the limitations posed by the constraining variables of economy and efficiency. This thesis starts by expanding the dependent variable of termination beyond the conventional dichotomy of termination and nontermination. Then, I develop a predictive model using deLeon’s three determinants of ideology, economy, and efficiency to further investigate the determinants’ respective roles. The role of federalism in the termination process is also covered. Two case studies, the CEAA 2012 and the Reagan Administration’s policies at the EPA from 1981-1983, are used to test the veracity of the model. This thesis concludes with an analysis of the findings and future revisions for the model.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howlett
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Who Really Governs Vancouver? Community Power and Regime Theory Revisited.

Date created: 
2013-08-20
Abstract: 

The central research question herein is “how do coalitions of government and non-government actors get created and influence the decision-making processes of municipal government in Vancouver, British Columbia?” The goal of this effort is to better understand “who really governs?” (Dahl, 1961) at the municipal level of government in the city during two ‘adjacent’ eras – the development of the post-Expo ’86 lands in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and the creation and implementation of the Vancouver Agreement (VA), including the development of Vancouver as North America’s first supervised/safe injection site/harm reduction model, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This dissertation considers not only the structures, actors and ideas of municipal governments but also the creation, influence and power of the various coalitions, the urban regimes, as defined by Stone (1989), that form around local decision-making. It is clear from this examination that coalitions of government and non-government actors, urban regimes, were created and influenced the decision-making processes involved in the development of former Expo ’86 lands and the creation and implementation of the Vancouver Agreement. In addition, there were continuities and discontinuities identified, linked to the type of policy being considered by the Vancouver municipal government. In sum, this analysis found that the nature of the decision-making processes, and by extension the urban regimes that were created, were issue-dependent. Urban regimes involved in what Bish and Clemens (2008) have described as “hard” (or “engineering”) issues, such as land development, were substantially different in nature to those involved in “soft” (or human policy”) issues, such as the provision of addiction services - the substance of policy issues mattered more than institutions.

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

Democracy Promotion, Sanctions and Iran: Obama's Policy Trade Off

Date created: 
2013-08-15
Abstract: 

Over the past ten years U.S., policymakers have focused on ending the alleged Iranian nuclear weapon program. The Obama administration intensified this focus, hoping to enter negotiations that could end the Iranian nuclear program through a trade-off in democracy promotion. When mass protests broke out in Iran following the announcement of the results of the 2009 presidential election, the Obama administration was presented with an opportunity to support democracy in Iran. Protestors, using the Internet to communicate and organize, challenged the ruling regime with the largest protests seen in the country since the 1979 revolution. The Iranian regime took steps to further restrict the use of the Internet to express dissent, obtaining surveillance technology developed in the U.S. In response, the Obama administration has continued to engage in a policy trade off, failing to comprehensively address the use of the Internet to promote democracy abroad.

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