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

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Input-Output Factors and its Effects on Support for and Satisfaction with Democracy

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-31
Abstract: 

In recent times, citizen support for democracy and its liberal principles appears to have stagnated and is possibly in decline. This research sets out to investigate the causes of citizens’ support for and satisfaction with democracy. Drawing on the literature on democratic deficits and using data from the United States and Germany, two competing arguments are investigated. The first argument is that support for and satisfaction with democracy stem from feelings of being represented by the government - the input side of the political system. The opposing view is that support for and satisfaction with democracy stems from government performance - the output side. In general, the results reveal that both factors are important but are largely conditioned by the kind of electoral system being operated in the country

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.

Chinese economic statecraft in Central and Eastern Europe: Examining security salience and positive sanctions

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-18
Abstract: 

China’s economic relations with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) rapidly expanded following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. However, Western European leaders worried that China’s engagement in the region was a ploy to exercise influence through economic statecraft. Of particular concern were several instances where CEE states vetoed or altered joint-EU statements to expunge them of criticism directed at China. However, it remains an open question whether China can use economic statecraft to achieve its strategic goals in CEE, particularly when Chinese demands directly contradict those of the United States. This paper seeks to answer this question using a realist framework by examining the effect of security salience on the effectiveness of Chinese economic statecraft. Through the lens of two case-studies, I argue that China’s positive sanctions in CEE will be most effective in a context of low security salience and least effective in a context of high security salience.

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

Unlocking the Secrets of Domestic Political Hegemony : Political Space and Economic Liberalization in Taiwan and South Korea, 1987-2000

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2000-08
Abstract: 

This thesis argues that, under certain conditions, economic liberalization can strengthen the political position of conservative coalitions in transitional democracies. A large body of literature on the effect of market-opening reforms and democratization posits that economic liberalization, by generating social change, creates new opportunities for political reform. This viewpoint, while not unchallenged, appears to be predominant within academic circles. Through an empirical analysis of two case studies, Taiwan and South Korea, this study contributes a new perspective to the debate over the political effect of economic liberalization. The analysis of these two countries focuses especially on the impact of market-opening reform on the electoral-ideological area of political life, an area (termed "political space" by this thesis) to which most existing literature seems to attach only secondary importance (as it focuses primarily on institutional dynamics).

Taiwan began its democratization process in 1987 with the lifting of martial law, while the first measures to liberalize the island's economy were implemented in the 1980s. However, as economic and institutional reform progressed throughout the 1990s, conservative political elements (represented mainly by the Kuomintang) have managed to maintain their dominance over Taiwan's political space. A similar development can be observed in South Korea, where in spite of growing economic de-regulation and the financial crash of 1997 (through which additional neo-liberal reforms have been imposed on South Korea's economy) conservative politicians and parties appear to have retained their dominance over this country's political space. As in Taiwan, the liberalization of political institutions and the economy since 1987 (when authoritarian tule in South Korea ended) have not brought about the triumph of pro-reform political forces. This thesis concludes by outlining some theoretical lessons extracted from the case studies that might translate into useful generalizations on the political effect of economic liberalization.

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

Battle of the Sexes? How the riding-level gender context shapes toxic campaigning

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

The 2019 Canadian Federal Election saw no shortage of toxic and attack-style campaign communications. Much of this took place on Twitter, which has grown in popularity amongst both candidates and the public since 2015. Examining the tweets of every candidate in the election from the LPC, CPC, NDP, GPC, and PPC, this study seeks to understand which candidates are most likely to send out toxic tweets. I find that within parties, women are almost always more likely than men to send out toxic tweets. Most importantly, I find that the representation of women within ridings is key to understanding candidate toxicity online. On the one hand, women are more likely to be toxic than men in ridings dominated by men while on the other hand, the opposite is true for men: they are more likely to send out a toxic tweet than women in ridings where women constitute the majority.

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.

Lobbying for democracy: Interest groups in Canada’s parliamentary system

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

Political scientists have long been interested in how interest groups influence policy—especially the information they provide to elected officials. In the American presidential system and in European consensus-parliamentary systems, information is increasingly understood as a subsidy from groups to their allies in the legislature. However, in majoritarian parliamentary systems (i.e. “Westminster” countries), such a perspective remains underdeveloped. The central motivation of this project is to understand how interest groups use information to intervene in the Westminster policy process. As an empirical case, I focus on a prominent majoritarian parliament: Canada. I generate quantitative evidence from three original datasets. First, I use aggregated Canadian lobbying registrations spanning fifteen policy areas from 1990-2009. Second, I use a dataset of 41,619 individual-level lobbying records from the House of Commons between 2010 and 2017. Third, I use a large dataset of committee utterances by Canadian parliamentarians and witnesses between 2006 and 2018, totalling 1.09M utterances. I present three major findings. First, lobbying from “cause” groups—representing diffuse interests like climate change—strengthens government responsiveness to public opinion. Lobbying from “sectional” groups—representing industry and professional associations— has no observable effect. Second, interest groups are more likely to communicate with government frontbenchers than with opposition or backbench members. This gap diminishes as agenda control diffuses to the opposition (i.e. during minority government). Third, interest groups—although nominally non-partisan—talk about policy issues in much the same way as partisan elected officials. Although we might expect legislative committees to help parliamentarians find common ground, the evidence suggests they often provide a venue for rival parties to learn about and develop competing issue frames.

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

Backlash and gender-focused aid: A quantitative study of gender-based violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-03
Abstract: 

Women’s empowerment and gender equality for all women and girls is one of the United Nations' seventeen Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty and ensure a sustainable future for all. Global development projects targeting women seek to challenge existing discriminatory gender norms, power relationships and values. Based on the backlash hypothesis that suggests changes in existing power relations and gender roles can result in a violent backlash, I use quantitative analysis to identify whether there is a correlation between gender-focused aid and gender-based violence against women in Sub-Saharan African countries. The time-series analysis did not demonstrate a statistically significant positive or negative correlation between gender-focused aid and gender-based violence against women. The inconclusive results show that existing limited data and the lack of comprehensive indicators to measure the violence against women creates challenges in understanding the impact of development efforts on the well-being of women around the world.vvvvvvvvvvvvv

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.

Unexpected preferences: Exploring conservative attitudes toward healthcare spending

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-04
Abstract: 

In many western democracies, self-proclaimed conservatives display attitudes that are ill-fit with conservative political ideology. This is evident in conservative attitudes toward healthcare spending, with conservatives supporting increased healthcare spending far more than their ideological self-placement would lead us to expect. Using data from Canada, the United States, and Britain, this research seeks to explain this puzzle by examining conservatives as two distinct groups: those who have political preferences that correspond with their ideological identity, and those who do not. I find that in some ways, these two groups of conservatives are different and behave differently, but the differences are not consistent across all three countries. In addition, consistency between political attitudes and ideological identity explains conservative support for healthcare spending in Canada and the United States, but not Britain.

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

A legacy of colonialism: The criminalization of homosexuality in India

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-19
Abstract: 

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decided to decriminalize “homosexuality” in India by repealing Section 377, a colonial-era anti-sodomy maintained within the Indian Penal Code. This was a remarkable decision, however, in 2013 the same court upheld Section 377 as integral to Indian law and society. What changed between 2013 and 2018 that led to the reconsideration of the Supreme Court decision? In this paper, I seek to explain this process of decriminalization by analyzing the judicial interpretation of the anti-sodomy law in three key Court cases: Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT of Delhi & Others, 2009; Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation and others, 2013; and Navtej Singh Johar and others v. Union of India, Thr. I use an inductive approach and qualitative coding methods to analyze the validity of Section 377 in those legal documents. I argue that a shift in the Court’s language when addressing the rights of sexual minorities contributed to a new rights discourse that changed the way Section 377 applied to the Indian Constitution. While Section 377 in its application was held to be unconstitutional, the reasons for doing so appear reflective of both a traditional and secular notion of gender and sexual orientation. This new discourse involved a move towards secularized notions of gender, as well as a nod to traditional Indian culture surrounding gender variance. We can view this discursive shift as essentially authorizing a break with colonial understandings of sex and gender and validating in law a more fluid conception of sexual identity.

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

Gender gap and gender differences in national party choices in Indian general election, 2014

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-03
Abstract: 

Traditionally, Indian women have been more likely to vote for the Indian National Congress (INC) compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) than men. In this paper, I draw from the Developmental Theory of Modern Gender Gap on party choices to formulate hypotheses about the socio-demographic factors and gender differences in attitudes that could have led to the gender gap in party choices in the 2014 election. I test these hypotheses by conducting statistical analysis of data from Wave 6 of the World Value Survey. My research shows that contrary to the modern gender gap theory, the gender advantage of India’s centre-left party comes from states with low levels of human development in comparison to more developed states. I also find that the Developmental theory cannot explain this gender gap as Indian women are still overwhelmingly represented in categories that lead to the traditional gender gap.

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.

Women and visible minority representation on Vancouver’s city council

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-07
Abstract: 

The 2018 municipal elections highlighted that visible minorities, particularly visible minority women, are underrepresented in Vancouver’s politics; yet, in terms of population, visible minorities outnumber white Vancouverites. I examine to what extent and how socioeconomic and political factors derived from the supply and demand literature contribute to the underrepresentation or lack thereof of women and visible minorities. A supply-side problem results in the lack of women and minority representation when there are not enough “qualified” women and visible minorities running for office. A demand-side problem occurs when party officials act as gatekeepers discouraging women and visible minorities from running for office. I answer this question using a combination of the statistical analysis of secondary data on candidates from 2005 to 2018 and a content analysis of data derived from semi-structured interviews with incumbent city councilors and municipal party officials involved in candidate recruitment. Results show that women are not underrepresented in the Vancouver city council. In fact, women have the best chance of winning as long as they are white women. Visible minorities are underrepresented because there are not enough “qualified” visible minority candidates running. Those who run not only have less socioeconomic resources than white candidates but also experience party officials serving as gatekeepers.

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.