Senior Seminar Research Projects

Senior Projects: Fall 2017

Determining Decisions: Personality and Prospect Theory on Foreign Policy Decisions

Christina L. Faoro  

As far back as Plato and Socrates, scholars have examined why some states have better diplomatic relations than others. Many scholars have debated this topic finding a myriad of explanations ranging from type of government to economics (Fearon 1998; Rosato 2003). These results have influenced analyses of diplomatic relations, but none of them specifically address the role of the leader of the country in question. This paper examines the role of decision theories on various presidents and prime ministers and their foreign policy decisions to explain why some policies and relations thrive while others fail.

 The Effects of Trade on Diplomatic Relationships between States

Ian Hernandez    

In 1910 the book The Great Illusion, by Norman Angell, was widely published and read throughout Europe. In The Great Illusion Angell expressed the belief that the world had become so interconnected by trade, that war had become a futile exercise and economic constraints would force wars to end within a few weeks. This thought became pervasive throughout much of the western world until 1914. Since then there have been many more theories that have sought to link trade with security concerns. Two principal schools of thought that have developed on the relationship between trade and the diplomatic relationships between states are the Liberal School of Thought and the Realist Classical School of Thought.
There are several different perspectives on the connection between trade and diplomatic relationships between states. The liberal school of thought maintains that economics, and therefore trade, is the dominant factor in international relationships. The proponents of the liberal school of thought hold that as the more trade increases between states the better their diplomatic relationship would be. The reasons for this are as the economies of two states become more closely conjoined through trade, the costs of conflict will get higher and the benefits of closer and more peaceful relations will increase.

The European Integration of Transition Economies: A Story of Foreign Direct Investment and Growth

Johan Englén

This paper examines the effect joining the European Union might have on the foreign direct investment inflows of states, and whether or not that foreign direct investment stimulates economic growth. This paper will use a dynamic panel data set analysis to contrast the effect of joining the European Union on the “fifth wave” states that joined in 2004 and 2007, and their foreign direct investment levels from the time before, during, and after their ascension to the European Union. The main test of this technique, however, will be to determine whether or not the independent variable of foreign direct investment has a statistically significant relationship with the dependent variable of economic growth in all of the fifth wave states across a period from 1990-2014. Thus, this test can help to answer both questions. It will also separate the fifth wave states into regions, the Baltic states (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania), Eastern Europe (Poland and the Czech Republic), Central Europe (Slovakia and Hungary), and the Balkans (Romania and Bulgaria). It does these things as ways to answer, or at least to speak to, the research question: How might foreign direct investment inflows be affected by states entering the European Union, and would this lack of or increase in foreign direct investment affect economic growth in the area?

Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections

 Tenisha  Zackery

The issue of low voter turnout has been a topic of interest in the political world for many years. Americans are given political freedom (which is regarded as one of the most important features of a democratic society) and have the freedom to participate in politics. In the United States, the most popular form of political participation is voting. However, many Americans do not exercise their right to vote, which is significant because voting is a key component of a democracy. This literature review will examine a few of the reasons why some Americans do not vote in U.S. presidential elections. The theoretical framework is derived from the institutional perspective theory and examines how state’s voter identification laws affect state’s voting-eligible population (VEP) total ballots counted percentages from one presidential election to the next presidential election.

Impact of Implicit Bias Training on Law Enforcement Use of Lethal Force

Zachary  R. Thomas

This study seeks to examine the impact of implicit bias training on law enforcement officers in the context of lethal force situations involving minority suspects. Implicit bias training seeks to make officers aware, through classroom training, of their implicit racial biases and then counter act them with explicit thought. Implicit biases arise from the natural human tendency to categorize information and individuals and then assign values to them (Lawson, 2015). The only difference between explicit biases, i.e. biases that an individual is cognitively aware of, and implicit biases, is that implicit biases exist below the individual’s level of consciousness whereas individuals are aware of their explicit biases. In some cases, the implicit biases may actually be contrary to the individual’s explicit beliefs (Lawson, 2015). In the context of race for example, an individual may be fully accepting and welcoming of all races but subconsciously they may hold bias against those same races. These implicit biases arise from a variety of sources including media, interactions with individuals, family attitudes, cultural exposure, and other agents of socialization (Lawson, 2015).
In the context of law enforcement use of force, these implicit biases may cause officers to apply force differently to different ethnic groups. Based on previous research, race seems to play a role in how force is applied and implicit bias may be the reason why. Even in officers with no explicit bias against an ethnic group, their implicit biases may take over when making split second decisions to use force (Lawson, 2015). While previous research supports the idea that these implicit biases held by officers impacts their use of force decision making processes, no research has specifically examined if implicit bias training is an effective method to reduce or even overcome these biases. The goal of this study is to address this gap by examining if implicit bias training is an effective method to help counteract bias and ultimately reduce the racial discrepancies in the use of lethal force.