Social Science Scholar: The Effects of Amendment 4

The Social Science Scholars program has given me an opportunity as an undergraduate to release my own survey on a statewide level. As someone whose father recently was given the right to vote because of Amendment 4, having the opportunity to study its impact on the black community further is an enormous privilege. Helping him become more politically active has meant giving him his voice back, and being able to understand how Amendment 4 could empower larger groups of people is an extension of that. Because of the Social Science Scholars program, I have been given the tools to study a complex issue, and study it in a way that will empower my community. If a connection can be found between Amendment 4 and attitudes towards voting, a path for increasing black political participation as a whole can be found.

How Labor Unions Increase Political Knowledge: Evidence from the United States

This work has important implications. Organized labor has declined dramatically over the past several decades, due in part to economic globalization, but also by the policy decisions made by the federal and state governments. Of all the factors that are correlated with political knowledge, such as: age, education, gender, race, income, and interest in politics, union membership is the only one that can feasibly be influenced by politicians. Policies that weaken labor unions may end up depriving people, particularly those with less formal education, not only of a source of political mobilization, but also an important source of political information.

Canvassers Tend to Seek Out Supporters Who Are Like Themselves, and That’s Not Good for Political Participation

The data reveals that canvassers were significantly more likely to walk door to door in search of signatures in neighborhoods where the demographic characteristics of the residents were similar to their own. For example, the middle-class, white Wisconsin canvassers who gathered signatures to protest the Iraq War were more likely to
stay in predominantly white and middle class neighborhoods when they traveled door to door. Our analysis also revealed that canvassers appeared to follow a rational process in which canvassers quit or changed approaches when facing increased costs.