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

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The governance of public-private partnerships: success and failure in the transportation sector

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-05-22
Abstract: 

Since the 1970s, the focus of public policy in many countries has been redirected from the public provision of goods and services to an emphasis on curbing government spending and limiting bureaucracy. This has led to a proliferation of alternative service delivery arrangements, in which the private sector is involved in public service delivery. The term “governance” is now commonly used to signify this shift away from the hierarchical mode of government that had been applied in the past. For many supporters of alternative service delivery, increased freedom for the private sector is regarded as the key to successful governance. Public-private partnerships (P3s) are a family of alternative service delivery mechanisms that allow the private sector to finance, own, and deliver goods and services to the public through long-term contracts. P3s fit comfortably into the logic of alternative service delivery, which implies that by removing some elements of the public sector and replacing them with some aspects of the private sector, a balance between accountability and efficiency can be struck. However, this presents an inherent conflict, as the public sector is viewed simultaneously as the problem and as the solution to improving public policy. This inherent conflict can sometimes lead to governance failure, a phenomenon that is not sufficiently understood. By examining two case studies in P3 delivery of transportation infrastructure, the Canada Line in Vancouver, Canada and the Sydney Airport Link in Sydney, Australia, the conditions for governance failure can be explained. These two cases have similar technical parameters and political motivations, but in the Canadian case, where the public sector fostered policy networks, demonstrated policy learning, and employed a collaborative institutional approach to project implementation, successful governance was achieved. By contrast, the Australian case, in which the government was not substantially engaged in the partnership, resulted in governance failure. From an analysis of these two cases I conclude that public sector policy leadership is essential to the prevention of governance failure.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Anthony Perl
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Peace and conflict in inter-group relations

Date created: 
2013-04-08
Abstract: 

The dissertation aims to contribute to the explanation of internal inter-group conflict, more narrowly of the conflict between majority and minority communal groups. It develops arguments that suggest the importance of inter-group economic inequality in bringing about inter-group hostility, and works toward providing empirical support for this causal connection by primarily relying on a large-N cross-national research design. This design culminates in multivariate regression models. Because of data availability issues, the task of addressing multiple potential determinants of the inter-group conflict advocated in the literature has been implemented by involving three datasets, of which two serve group-level analyses and one confines itself to the country level. The datasets are compilations of previous scholarly work, mainly based on the Ethnic Power Relations, Minorities at Risk (MAR), and Quality of Government data, with the addition of some new measurements, such as the main explanatory variable, economic inequality. Findings from all three datasets support the impact of horizontal economic inequality on inter-group hostility, measured either as group grievance or violent conflict. This double measurement of the inter-group conflict, as grievance and as violence, answers an intuition that not all low-to-medium strength hostility is doomed to develop into violent conflict. In fortunate conditions, the issues can be solved, or compromises may be reached without turning to violence. A large number of variables in the regression models operationalize constellations that influence the evolution of conflicts toward either peaceful solutions or armed collision. In general, the models provide support for previous expectations promoted in the literature regarding the beneficial impact of democracy and political equality of the groups, but also for the adverse impact of the opportunities for insurrection. Some institutional variables have been defined in ways that they allow for distinguishing between the outcomes of two brands of policies recommended for heterogeneous societies, as advised by Lijphart and Horowitz. Further benefits from the project include the construction of an almost complete list of communal groups worldwide, with 860 groups, which usefully contextualizes MAR’s selection of 282 minority groups. Data also allowed for comparing the causes of communal and social conflicts.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The politics of anomalies: policy formulation processes and the transformation of the industrial policy paradigm in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-02
Abstract: 

This thesis introduces a research programme to develop and test a theory for understanding the role of ideas in the policy process. By focusing on actors’ treatment of policy anomalies, the theory builds upon existing frameworks that map “orders” of ideational change using the concept of policy paradigms. The empirical section employs discourse analysis and process tracing techniques to explain industrial policy change in the province of Saskatchewan between 1970 and 1995. Using new analytical tools, this thesis explains how paradigmatic ideas may come to be dominant, hegemonic or contested, and how formulation processes came to yield the replacement of the industrial policy paradigm in many other jurisdictions but a much less consequential paradigmatic shift in Saskatchewan. The concluding section outlines the next steps of the research agenda and highlights areas in which discourse analysis may play a greater role in the policy sciences.

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

Uncovering the judicial role in rights protection under the legal doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

In 19th century English constitutionalist Albert Venn Dicey's classic statement of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, Parliament can make any law whatever and no person or body has the authority to invalidate an Act of Parliament. In the Charter era, this doctrine continues to be invoked by supporters and critics of contemporary judicial review to signal a pre-Charter tradition of judicial deference to parliamentary policy choices regarding the definition and protection of rights. This view of the significance of the doctrine is challenged in this dissertation through a careful and novel re-evaluation of the role Dicey assigned to judges in the doctrine. Indeed, the interpretation of Dicey offered in this dissertation shows that common law judges have long been theorized to have a central role to play in defending common law rights under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Judicial control over the application of law in particular cases facilitates a central role for the judiciary in rights protection by allowing judges to interpret statutes to minimize their detrimental effect on common law rights. This dissertation offers a significant contribution to Canadian constitutional debate by focussing attention on the fact that the judiciary neither needs a bill of rights to play a key role in protecting fundamental rights, nor is prohibited from playing such a role under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. In this dissertation, contemporary interpretations of the significance of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty for judicial rights protection are contrasted to the arguments of Dicey and his Canadian Depression-era critics who were concerned with the policy implications of the central role Dicey assigned to the judiciary in protecting common law rights. This dissertation challenges the common view that the Charter introduced a radical change in the role played by judges in protecting fundamental rights. In fact, constitutional scholars have long praised and condemned the central role played by judges in protecting rights through judicial control over the application of the law in particular cases. This dissertation highlights the extent to which academic conflicts over the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty are ultimately rooted in conflicts over more fundamental values.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Building a norm: the banning of anti-personnel landmines

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Anti-personnel (AP) landmines have historically been used as a military tool. The humanitarian consequences of AP mines have generated support for an absolute ban on their use. Based on pre-existing principles of humanitarian law, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) campaigned for an international agreement banning AP mines. Canada and a group of like-minded states and NGOs provided the leadership and momentum necessary to gain a broad support for the Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits AP mines. The qualities of the treaty, including timeliness and unequivocal language have helped to create a norm against landmines within the international community. By surveying trends of recent landmine behaviour, this paper documents a trend of growing support and acknowledgement of the norm. This project will demonstrate how recent behaviour by many state actors is largely consistent with a constructivist explanatory perspective of international affairs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Would terrorists go nuclear? Motivation and strategy

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This thesis is an attempt to assess the likelihood that terrorist groups would use true nuclear weapons if they had them. It is highly unlikely, although not altogether inconceivable, that terrorists could obtain a hnctional nuclear weapon unless they were directly state-supported. However, non-nuclear radiological dispersion or emission devices could be used. A well-hnded terrorist religious cult, such as Aum Shinrikyo, would pose the greatest risk of nuclear terrorism because it would not be constrained by law or conventional morality and would be undeterrable. The next most dangerous would be a religiously-motivated transnational group, such as a1 Qa'ida, which claims a divine mandate, has no fixed homeland, and has a small, dispersed constituency. Nationalrevolutionary or separatist groups would be least likely to use nuclear weapons because their homelands are vulnerable to retaliation and they could be constrained by their constituencies. Right-wing and single issue groups are 'wild cards'.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Contesting discourse: Can deliberative democracy mitigate protracted ethnic conflict in Israel?

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This paper examines the question of whether deliberative democratic processes can be used to effectively mitigate protracted ethnic conflict in Israel. By examining peacemaking strategies used in the past, it tries to explain why peace has been elusive in Israel and what steps must be taken in order to make the regime more legitimate as well as build a lasting peace. A constructivist approach is used to demonstrate the malleability of hardened identities as well as the opportunity for deliberation. While it is not sufficient to create a lasting peace, the paper concludes that through the deliberative democratic process of contesting discourse in public spheres, citizens can engage in meaningful dialogue. Over time this dialogue can contribute to more legitimate institutions and peaceful interactions among citizens.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

A feasibility study: can Paraguay learn from the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol program?

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

This research investigates the feasibility of Paraguay developing a productive sugarcane ethanol sector, by drawing from the Brazilian experience with biofuels. Brazil is clearly a key case for examining whether there are certain lessons which can be extrapolated for other developing countries, such as Paraguay which have the factor endowment conditions to grow sugarcane and use it for the development of an ethanol industry. This study is framed around the following question: to what extent can the Brazilian ethanol program be replicated in Paraguay? This project’s framework for analysis is based on three categories: political and institutional arrangements that govern the value chain of ethanol in Brazil and Paraguay. These categories include: an evaluation of the multiple stakeholder’s intricately involved; the economic costs and benefits; and sustainability requirements which must be incorporated in order to credibly assess environmental gains and penalties associated with this renewable source.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
D
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Exploring the relationship between democratization and corruption in the Philippines, 1986-2006

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

This project examines why corruption levels in the Philippines did not perceptibly improve during the periods of 1986-2006 when the country embarked upon a series of democratization measures. The research finds that several factors were involved: an entrenched political culture of patronage politics; weakness in the judicial system; decentralization of corruption networks; and deficiencies in civil servants’ wages. The research concludes that these factors are unlikely to be effectively addressed in the Philippines until democracy is consolidated. While the democratizing processes that came into being at the end of the Marcos regime established an ‘institutional democracy,’ democratic norms, values and practices have not yet become entrenched in the deeper fabrics of society. Without developing these, it is likely that corruption will continue to plague the country. Democratic consolidation―that is, enhancing institutions and making politicians and bureaucrats more accountable to civil society―is therefore most important in reducing corruption.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
M
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Do political preconditions affect environmental outcomes? Exploring the linkages between proportional representation, Green parties and the Kyoto Protocol

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Is there a relationship between positive environmental changes, a quick ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and preconditions such as green party presence and a Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system? The findings suggest that Proportional Representation electoral systems are correlated with green parties in legislatures. PR is also correlated with a faster time to ratify the Kyoto Protocol after December 1997, as well as the change in percentage of world total carbon emissions. The presence of green parties in cabinet and legislatures does not have a statistically significant relationship to the dependent variables. Finding very little correlation between PR, green party presence, and better environmental outcomes may indicate that even in a PR system, those politicians with an environmental agenda often set aside their convictions and go along with the majority in the coalition they have joined.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
A
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)