Honors Thesis Spotlight: Fortifying Hate: How Social Media Acts as a Tool for White Supremacist Groups

Alternative right (alt-right) white supremacist groups are increasingly popular and highlighted in the mainstream media, specifically during the 2016 presidential election. Unlike past elections, alt-right groups are able to amass a greater following through resources available on the internet. Social media platforms provide group leaders with  accessible and far-reaching communication channels. YouTube is one of…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: The Effects of Democracy on Human Development

Citizens in the United States and across the globe consider democracy essential for improved human development, but the relationship may be more nuanced than most research suggests. Most scholars identify a positive correlation between human development and democracy because of its primary features: electoral accountability, access to information, and individual rights and civil liberties. In…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia: Unlocking Alternative Sources of Investment for Corrupt States

In 2013, the Chinese government launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a regional integration project that establishes routes and provides resources to approximately 70 countries and national organizations. Benefits and negative consequences accompany the initiative; while poorer countries in Southeast Asia benefit from financial aid, there are still roadblocks to economic freedom, including corruptive…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: Splintering Off: Catalonia’s Search for Sovereignty

In 2017, the Catalonia region of Spain held a referendum for independence where 2.26 million people flocked to the polls to vote on the region’s secession from Spain. Catalonia’s bold campaign for autonomy sparked a country-wide debate and garnered international attention. The Spanish Central government declared the referendum illegal, thereby nullifying the Catalonian Declaration of…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: A Study of Corruption and Social Capital in Latin America

The predictability of social capital ebbs and flows, particularly when trust between constituents is lost or corrupted. Trust is crucial to maintaining social capital, which is defined as the extent to which trust in institutions facilitates collective action. Since the 1970s, social capital has steadily declined, and corruption might be to blame. This study investigates…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: Disciplining for Quality: Does State Medical Board Disciplinary Action Affect Healthcare Quality?

State Medical Boards (SMBs) regulate the medical profession. They issue licenses, standardize the medical field, and discipline physicians who abuse their power or perform poorly. Since SMBs work on behalf of state governments, they are subject to the Principal-Agent Model, a relationship where an agent represents the interests of a principal. In this instance, SMBs…

Honors Thesis Spotlight: The Legislative Effectiveness Under Gender Quotas: Argentina Before and After Quota Implementation

Women continue to be under-represented in the legislative bodies of their governments. To combat this, some governments implement gender quotas to increase the number of women holding seats in their legislature. Gender quotas help achieve balanced representation by requiring a particular number or percentage of seats to be allocated to a specific group, such as…