Political Science and Economics, 2013

    Right-to-Work Legislation and Its Impact on the Economy
    Aaron Butts
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    With a recent upsurge in interest over “Right-to-Work” (RTW) legislation in the United States, I sought to discover the advantages and the disadvantages that RTW laws pose to state economies, and to the federal government as a whole. I studied numerous statistics and documents related to this topic. I came to the conclusion that it is not determinable to say whether or not RTW legislation is a viable solution to labor problems in the country as a whole. It is determined on the local and that progress is determined on the local and state level. This is because the effectiveness of RTW legislation differs from state to state depending on the opportunities at the state level, including population, resources, pro-business legislation, and historical and cultural influences. Overall, while looking at individual state governments, RTW laws seem to benefit the economies of the states that have them when compared to states that do not have RTW. RTW states tend to have lower unemployment, but also lower wages compared to non-RTW states.

    Religious Politics: The Foundations of Belief
    Clayton Kleevic
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    Religion shapes human beliefs, conduct, views on morality, and perspectives on how persons should live. In the United States, there is a vast number of religious denominations. Political affiliation also plays critical and similar roles in the lives of Americans. My study investigates whether meaningful relationships exist between being raised in a religious, faith-based household and political affiliations such as ideology and partisanship. More specifically: Do people’s views on the Bible affect their political ideology? Does an early introduction into a religious household determine where one aligns themselves politically? Does being raised in a Bible oriented Christian household determine where one stands in the political theater? I report on a survey distributed to Capital students on whether the Bible affects their political beliefs and identifications. My expected findings are that those who view the Bible as the true word of God are more likely to identify themselves as Conservatives, and those who view the Bible as created entirely by humans to identify themselves as Liberals. This study contributes to Political Science because it addresses important differences in political worldviews.

    State Constitutions: How the States’ Constitutions Impact Civil Liberties of Citizens
    Samantha Malone
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The purpose of this study was to look at State constitutions and how they impact individual liberties in that State. My paper explores the relationship between State and Federal constitution civil liberties and drug testing of social welfare recipients. Each State retains the “sovereign right to adopt its own constitution with its own individual liberties.” These liberties can be more expansive than the individual liberties named in the Bill of Rights and Nationalized by the United States Supreme Court in the fourteenth Amendment. Many scholars have looked at State law protections for civil liberties and the State constitution, as well as previous State law decisions. The United States Supreme Court has called for State Supreme Courts to use the State constitutional grounds in order to preserve and increase the protection of individual liberties. Why are some States drug testing social welfare recipients and others saying it is against the State constitution? How State constitutions are different from one another and what influences certain States to require social welfare recipients to be drug tested?

    H-1B Visa
    Amy Mendez
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The H-1B visa program in the United States was designed to provide high skilled workers with the process of temporary work without affecting the employment of American citizens. This paper explores the uses of the visa, the requirements for obtaining it, and the quotas set on the number of visas allotted to foreign nations. In this paper, I will examine alternate frameworks needed not only for temporary employment for high skilled foreign workers visa but also for low skilled workers. This paper will also address problems with the H-1B visa and immigration reform politics.

    Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing: The Technologies Needed to Advance Green Energy in America
    Michael Metzger
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    As America progresses through the 21st century, the question of moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy has been at the forefront of the political lexicon. How to transition from dirty coal and foreign oil to clean renewables has been the focus and success has only occurred in small pockets of the country. But now, the discoveries and exploration of shale formations throughout the country offer the potential to bridge us from the energy of the past to the energies of the future. This has not come without controversy as the technologies used to release this energy, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, are often demonized in popular culture. This project, drawing on information provided by the EIA, DOE, EPA as well as writings from Harvard and different state regulatory agencies, has shown that these processes are safe and are continuing to improve. Therefore, if the political debate of today is to advance the idea and tenants of green energy in America, the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are the technologies needed to bridge our energy of the past to the energies of the future.

    Gun Control: Firearm-Related Deaths and the Prevalence of Firearm Ownership
    Eric Opatken
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The recent surge in firearm related deaths across the United States has positioned gun control as a central topic in every state. The United States has weak national gun control laws and the gun-related deaths in this country are a direct result of that. In the U.S., states with stricter gun control laws experience fewer deaths from gun related violence; states with a higher number of gun owners experience a higher number of gun-related deaths. The purpose of this study is to examine the correlation between gun-related deaths of each state and the gun ownership in that state. The expected result is that there is a direct correlation between the prevalence of gun ownership and the number of firearm-related deaths in each state. This study will add more evidence that the main reason for gun-related deaths are the firearms and the controls that are attached to them.

    On the Verge of a Crisis: Inadequate Transportation Funding Leaving Ohio Behind
    Scott Partika
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The State of Ohio, along with other states, is currently facing significant transportation budget shortfalls. Historically, majority of transportation funding has come from the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax. However, due to the increased use of fuel efficient vehicles and increased traffic counts, transportation agencies are struggling to preserve our transportation infrastructure. This study has analyzed the effects of aligning the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax rate with the rate of inflation and evaluating the public perception of the policy using the Regulatory Focus Theory. I conducted thorough field research and a literature review of the variety of funding mechanisms available to determine an effective mechanism to fund transportation. I subsequently conducted a survey to evaluate public perceptions of the proposal to determine whether it was politically viable and which message would most effectively garner support. This study developed a mechanism and strategy that will be reasonable to implement, have long term stability, and will also be politically viable for either political party to implement.

    Term Limits: Holding Politicians Accountable or Hindering Good Policy
    Kyle Petty, Trint Hatt
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    Although there are no current term limits on members of U.S. Congress, many state legislators are subject to these limitations. The rationale behind term limits was to bring in fresh political ideas and to eliminate unrepresentative career politicians. However, term limits actually may have accelerated the problems they were supposed to eliminate. By eliminating the senior members of the legislature, their institutional knowledge is also subsequently eliminated. It often takes new legislators a couple years to fully grasp the intricate procedures and structures of state government, thus rendering them less effective than their senior counterparts. To test this hypothesis, we examined the content of the Ohio 122nd and 123rd General Assemblies that predated term limits and that of the 124th and 125th General Assemblies that reigned in the new era of term limited legislators. We found that there was a substantial difference in the content of these two General Assemblies that we believe, supports our hypothesis. Our research ultimately sheds light on some of the unintended consequences associated with term limits and could ultimately prove useful to other state legislatures that are considering the concept of term limits.

    Frequencies of Hearing and Using Homophobic Language at Capital University
    Justin Poole
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The purpose of this study is to reassess the frequency of hearing offensive and hate-based homophobic language at Capital University. In the spring of 2011 a similar survey was conducted and found that
    42.3% of students heard “that’s so gay,” or “you’re so gay” frequently or often on campus (Poole, 2011). By completing the survey adopted and amended from the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) Local School Climate Survey, we can determine if these frequencies have changed. These frequencies will also test if there is a correlation based on student’s athletic status. In the 2011 study it was found that student athletes were more likely to hear and use terms like “that’s so gay” (Poole, 2011). This survey will go further into understanding why students use this language in relation to their knowledge of multicultural organizations on campus.

    Chilean Collective Memory: An Investigation into Chile’s Candidate Choice
    Bradford Rush
    Mentor: Cynthia Duncan

    Collective historical memories are common occurrences among groups of people that greatly influence decision making (Kalinowska, 2012). This project seeks to discuss the impact that collective memory has on party candidate selection in post-dictatorship Chile. Despite a desire to forget the sudden and dramatic political transition from democratically elected president Allende to the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, Chile still struggles with the depth at which this collective memory continues to affect candidate selection and political policies more than three decades later. Impact of collective memory is most visibly seen through an examination of recent candidate choices for president. Through the study of qualitative research and examination of candidate selection, I investigated the extent to which historical memory resurfaced and recast itself in the selection of presidential candidates within the past thirty years. By comparing the policies of recent Presidents to those of past leaders, specifically Allende and Pinochet, I demonstrated how collective memory affects the process of choosing candidates for election in contemporary Chilean politics.

    The Effect of Media Exposure on Gender Confidence Levels in Diverse Political Arenas
    Kourtney Selogy
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    Previous research has found a correlation between media exposure and confidence levels. Greater exposure to unrealistic body images in the media can result in a distorted body image of oneself that may increase the likelihood of bulimia and anorexia nervosa. This theory can be applied to the gender disparity in country’s academic performance ratings related to confidence levels. Gender equality is correlated to greater access to equality in education, but more religiously conservative nations with less gender equality have reported greater academic success for women. This study will be conducted through a comparative approach of nation’s economic standings, gender equality ratings, and academic performance ratings. A post-hoc analysis was completed using general knowledge questionnaires given to Capital Students before and after exposure to gender-bias media. Exposure to gender-bias media resulted in lower confidence levels and overall lower scores on the knowledge questionnaire. Academic performance ratings contained less of a gender disparity in conservative nations with less access to media exposure than democratic nations with higher access to media exposure. This study will build on previous research concerning confidence levels attributed to gender-bias media as well as academic performance in diverse political environments.

    Education Funding: A Study on Effectiveness
    Kenneth Warner
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    Education funding is a hotly contested issue from state to state every budget cycle. Many policy makers cry out for reform each time around. In order to enact meaningful and effective reform, however, those in elected office as well as their staffers must look outside of the state to see what’s been done elsewhere and how effective those formulas and structures are in those respective states. Recently, Governor Kasich has proposed a new method to funding education in Ohio. This would correct our current structure which has been deemed unconstitutional. In this study, I take a look at what the Governor has proposed and compare it to education funding models in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. These states were picked out due to proximity to Ohio or similar population decline. Wisconsin would serve as the outlier due to its political history being very different from Ohio. I believe that what the Governor has proposed here in Ohio is beneficial and will build a better more competitive education system in comparison to other education systems.

    Megaphones and Whispers: How Corporate Privilege Impacts Our Freedom of Speech
    Shane Weiss
    Mentor: Suzanne Marilley

    The question: How have corporations gained unprecedented advantage and influence in the United States of America? When the framers outlined our nations Constitution and our public policy they wanted to put limits on corporations. I will show since that time corporations have steadily grown in power, political influence and prestige. They have done this through a number of Circuit and Supreme Court rulings (1) on their rights as natural citizens, (2) corporate charters and (3) on campaign finance. These decisions culminated with the recent United States Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that gave unlimited influence to corporations at all levels of government on the grounds of not limiting freedom of speech for any “person.”