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

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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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alexander Moens
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

An analysis of the framing of monarchy within a contemporary democracy

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-08-21
Abstract: 

This project aims to establish a comprehensive dialogue concerning the contemporary dynamic between the term ‘democracy’ and the term ‘monarchy’. Utilising the theoretical orientation of ‘framing’ documented by George Lakoff and Murray Edelman, this project assesses the notion of a barrier to political discourse surrounding monarchy as a governance structure. The idea of democracy has taken on a moral and value-laden frame that encompasses perceptions of freedom, equality and legitimacy. Democracy as ‘ideal’ is tied to the dominant culture and history of the United States, as well as the liberal or procedural democracy espoused therein. The ‘ideal’ gives way to a space of what is not ideal, or an enemy of the ‘ideal’, termed within this project as the ‘other’. Monarchy is placed firmly within the frame of the ‘other’, existing in opposition to the ‘ideal’ within the notions of inequality, unaccountability, slavery and violence as order. Although monarchy is maintained within democracy amongst many constitutional monarchies, the oppositional framework stands. The pressure of these frameworks can be seen in international development with the example of Bhutan’s transition to procedural democracy, as well as internal state convention revealed by the rhetoric surrounding the Governor General’s decision to prorogue Parliament in Canada in 2008. By demonstrating the constructed nature of these established frames and the combative dichotomy that results between the notion of democracy and monarchy, this project shows that there is an obstruction to a merit based analysis of monarchy as a governance structure.

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

Balancing the dragon softly: formulating a pragmatic China policy for Canada

Date created: 
2013-07-22
Abstract: 

China’s rising power has raised many questions around the world as to how best to adjust to this historic event in our time. This debate is heating up particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where China’s military power is growing. Canada’s fellow democracies in the region have engaged in lively security policy debates about the rising Chinese power. Yet, Canada has not. Its policy discourse on China is largely limited to the question of how Canada should balance its concerns for human rights with its interests in trade when dealing with China. Consequently, Canada suffers from the lack of a systematic, realistic, and pragmatic security policy framework in formulating its strategy toward China, which would unify various activities pursued by Canada’s security policy community while taking into account the strategy of the United States, Canada’s key ally. This project attempts to fill this critical void in the policy literature. It advances a “soft-balancing strategy” that focuses largely on non-military measures in coping with security threats emanating from China. More specifically, it advocates that Canada should (1) foster further cooperation with its “Five Eyes” partners (the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) in the field of intelligence and cyber security; (2) forge stronger ties with the Asian partners that share security interests vis-à-vis China; and (3) strengthen the existing policy regime to scrutinize inbound Chinese investment in Canada. While Canada should continue its engagement policy vis-à-vis China, it needs to be balanced with proper security measures in order to protect its security interests.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tsuyoshi Kawasaki
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Voter mobilization of low income citizens in advanced industrial states: the effects of party identification and programmatic party positions

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-04-18
Abstract: 

With electoral participation decreasing disproportionally among low-income citizens in advanced democracies, understanding factors that contribute to this decline becomes increasingly important. By distinguishing among various partisans, I reveal how programmatic positions of the dominant left party affect the mobilization of this cohort. A comparative empirical analysis reveals that strong partisans, weak partisans, and nonpartisans are more likely to vote when the left party is further left on a unidimensional policy scale. However, the effect of left party positions on turnout is strongest among weak partisans. When left parties become increasingly right in their position, the likelihood of voting among weak partisans becomes smaller than individuals with no party attachments. Thus, the effects of policy positions are influential enough to alter the positive impact of party identification on turnout. Furthermore, supplementary analyses indicate that the mechanism behind the voting behaviour of low-income voters is consistent with directional models of voting rather than proximity models.

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