Senior Essay Library

The Environmental Kuznets Curve in Malaysia: Analysis and Implications
Daniel Baneman
The Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis predicts an inverted U-shaped relationship between per capita income and pollution.  Economists have proposed several different theories on the factors driving this trend.  In this essay, I examine the environmental consequences associated with economic development in Malaysia.  I trace the paths of several pollutants over time, focusing in particular on suspended particulate matter, organic water pollution and deforestation.  I then analyze the respective roles of the factors driving the EKC curve in explaining the environmental trends observed in Malaysia.  I ultimately contend that regulatory policy – both in Malaysia and OECD countries – has driven Malaysia’s environmental improvements as incomes have risen.  This conclusion has important implications for other developing countries, suggesting that economic development will not automatically alleviate environmental degradation; rather, developing-country governments and international actors must exercise genuine agency to achieve improvements in environmental quality.
The Ideology of Imperialism American Principles and Mission at the Turn of the 20th Century Samuel Asher
Samuel Asher
The Incentives for Racial Profiling in the Practice of Community Peacekeeping
Stan Chiueh
Racial profiling has been identified as a fundamental problem in modern community policing, in particular with the onset of “broken windows” theories of policing. While a myriad of studies have been presented showing the presence or absence of racial profiling, there is minimal literature on the fundamental incentives behind racial profiling. This behavior can be traced to the tensions inherent in the concept of community peacekeeping. Police officers who engage in community policing practices have an extraordinarily complex task of community peacekeeping, which ideally requires a combination of actions from the individual, the police department, and the community at large. However, the complexity of this role leads officers to prioritize certain aspects of their work over others, creating an incentive structure that affects their day-to-day behavior in order to fulfill these prioritized goals. This analysis delineates the ethical role of community peacekeeping and presents the incentives for racial profiling in a three part structure of individual, department, and community. The central claim of this analysis is that officers who prioritize the formal stops and arrests strategy of statistic-based law enforcement over the problem-solving aspects of community profiling, who prioritize the use of forceful pacification over the establishment of peaceful authority, and who find themselves isolated from rather than accountable to the community, have greater incentives for racial profiling.
The Law’s Treatment of Workplace Discrimination on the Basis of Reproductive Capacity
Anna Skiba-Crafts
Reproductive capacity—one’s potential to mother or father a child—can have significant bearing on an employee’s status in the workforce. Historically, workplace discrimination on the basis of reproductive capacity has occurred along gender lines. The biological allocation of reproductive roles has given rise to corresponding social roles and behavior patterns that affect the respective workplace status and economic well-being of the sexes. Women are responsible for a disproportionate share of reproductive activity: in addition to their biologically prescribed duty of bearing children, culture has assigned them the task of rearing children. Women’s participation in the workplace, then, is hindered not only by pregnancy and childbirth, but by childcare responsibilities. The belief that they will become pregnant, have children, and serve as caregivers serves as a motivation for employers to discriminate against women on the basis of their pregnancy or their potential for pregnancy. Thus, women’s role in reproduction has limited their opportunities in the labor market, relegating them to inferior positions and depressing their income. This essay will examine the nature of workplace discrimination on the basis of reproductive capacity and assess the efficacy of current legislation in preventing it. It argues: 1) that workplace discrimination on the basis of reproductive capacity is not limited to actual pregnancy discrimination, but also includes, and perhaps mainly consists of, discrimination on the basis of fertility (for women, the potential for pregnancy) and the childcare responsibilities that are likely to follow, 2) the Pregnancy Discrimination Act fails to fully protect women from discrimination on the basis of their reproductive capacity, only truly guaranteeing protection against discrimination based on actual pregnancy, and 3) the federal law’s provision addressing discrimination on the basis of reproductive capacity should be separated from the sex discrimination prohibition of Title VII.
The Role of the United States and the IMF in the Argentine Financial Crisis of 2001-02
Christopher Dampier
The efforts of the international financial community on behalf of Argentina when that country entered extreme financial distress in late 2001 can be interpreted as inadequate; intervention did not prevent crisis. But evaluated in the context of the precise duty the international community owed to Argentina, the work of the IMF and US Treasury may have been generous. This paper identifies several important causes of the 2001 financial crisis in historical and theoretical terms, starting with the dramatic market reforms of the early 1990s. Actual outcomes of key policy decisions are compared with expected results predicted by economic theory. An analysis of government revenue and expenditure data shows that the most persistent problem facing the Argentine economy was the size of the central government’s debt. Servicing that debt destroyed primary budget surpluses and ultimately imperiled the country’s economy. Judged using a normative framework inspired by Rawls’ “Duty of Assistance,” Argentina’s crisis appears to be its own responsibility; the international community fulfilled its moral obligations to the country in rescuing it from crisis in 1990. Notwithstanding this conclusion, more demanding views of global justice may still find the international community at fault.
The Shape of Education: Architecture and Education Reform in New Haven, 1954-1970 and 1994-2011
Andrew McCreary
I. Introduction We shape our buildings, some have said, and then our buildings shape us.1 If true, architects who design schools also help design the education that happens within them. “The architect,” wrote one of the most influential school architects of the post-war period, Lawrence Perkins, “must fashion a tool for the teacher.”2 But the right tool for the job is not a simple choice. Even as educators debate the methods and purpose of education, architects must fashion tools that are fixed in concrete. Buildings constrain class size, teaching style, and curriculum. Spaces of different size and shape accommodate lectures, discussions, group work, or private learning. Some spaces, like wood shops or science laboratories, enable the study of subjects that cannot be fully studied otherwise. The schoolhouse, however, is more than a tool for teachers and students; it is an instrument for political communities who seek to project their civic character and strength. School buildings signal to parents, neighbors, and potential newcomers the values of a place. Across two centuries of economic and political change, school buildings have resembled churches, factories, and corporate office parks. An outmoded schoolhouse suggests a community that is either proudly traditionalist or simply well past its prime. In the utopic vision of modern architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, then, the final “agent of the state … in matters affecting the harmony of the whole, is the architect.” These two demands, that the inside of the school building work for students and that the outside work for citizens, are difficult to satisfy in a single work of architecture. Trusting a single architect to satisfy student and community interests risks leaving both unsatisfied. If schoolhouses truly shape learning, and civic buildings truly shape citizens, perhaps teachers and citizens should have a greater role in making school architecture. And if problems in educational achievement and civic commitment are indeed so complex, perhaps we should be satisfied with renovations that make knowable and modest improvements to the school buildings we already have before attempting new masterworks with unknown consequence. New Haven presents an opportunity to compare two historic efforts to improve schools and communities by improving school buildings, and to see how the constraints of the design process mattered for the success of the design in both respects. These comparative case studies show how the pursuit of a utopic vision takes place in a political economy that can exploit, compromise, or reject that vision, but in all likelihood never realize it. This paper begins with an overview comparing the school construction efforts of Mayor Richard C. Lee (1954-1969) and Mayor John D. DeStefano, Jr. (1994-Present). Each mayor undertook the most expensive per-capita school construction project of his respective era, and each undertaking raises questions about how political economy shapes schoolhouse architecture, and how the schoolhouse then shapes students and communities. The next section of the paper introduces the disciplinary tools of schoolhouse design theory through a brief history of schoolhouses in New Haven until 1947. Now prepared for our case studies, we begin with Mayor Lee’s program of schoolhouse construction through urban renewal. The financial and political regime of renewal encouraged total, rather than incremental, design undertaken by exclusive, rather than inclusive, designers for the benefit of multiple and conflicting clients. The resulting buildings were superficially and substantively at odds with those who worked in and lived around them. A close look at the design of Conte School reveals these problems in detail. We next turn towards Mayor DeStefano’s program of local school renovation and magnet school new construction. Whereas the renovations disciplined the design process by encouraging incremental improvements undertaken in consultation with those who used the buildings, the new construction of magnet schools recapitulated many of urban renewal’s problems. It led to total design undertaken in service of competing clients (the distant students who would attend the schools, and the local communities who would host them, sometimes unwillingly). Returning to the site of Conte School reveals some of the benefits of renovation work; even when a relatively exclusive design process goes forward, its results are at least no less offensive (and often better) than what was there before. This paper argues that all design work presents two major problems identified by political science: information and agency problems. Designers have imperfect knowledge, and designers are imperfectly responsive to the sometimes multiple clients they serve. This paper’s case studies suggest that renovation solves these problems more readily than can new construction, and that policymakers might consider incentivizing renovation over new construction in grant programs. Renovation enables designers to make knowable improvements for educators inside the building, and compels them to preserve continuity with civic communities outside the building. Further, a citywide building program biased towards renovation will maintain the number of schools near present numbers, a conservative approach that prepares the district for future years when it may be difficult to fully fund schools if budgets or demographics shift beyond expectations. The paper’s case studies also suggest that political economy drives these design choices. Future state or federal policymakers convinced by these arguments might consider making grants for school demolition-and-rebuilding and for new construction relatively less generous than grants for renovation. This cost burden would internalize in local decisionmaking bodies the risks of designing new buildings given human fallibility and hubris.
Towards a Better Future: Learning from the Influence of International Development Organizations and Other Groups on Senegalese Policy
Dila Dahlia Mignouna
This essay will attempt to trace how the changing relationships between the state, ruling elites, organized urban citizens, rural and urban non-elites, and international development organizations have interacted over time to shape policy-making in Senegal from independence until the present day. The emphasis will be on the role of international development organizations in these interactions. Doing this will allow the paper to answer the larger question of how, given the effectiveness (and limitations) of the ways in which these organizations currently interact with and try to influence the state, the former should act going forward to positively influence policymaking in Senegal. It will do so by looking at the relative pressures and influences all of the aforementioned parties have had on the Senegalese state since 1960 and the resulting policy decisions that were made and implemented. This essay will show that in the 1960s and 1970s under Léopold Senghor, the Senegalese state was heavily based on neopatrimonialism, and ruling elites had the most influence on state policymaking. In the 1980s and 1990s, the increasing power of international development organizations, especially the Breton Woods Institutions, as well as increased democratization, meant that policymaking was the hybrid result of the goals of international development organizations, organized urban citizens, and ruling elites. It is important to note that during this time, the presence of international development organizations did not completely alter the state’s neopatrimonial character. That is, although the state had to balance the desires of ruling elites against that of international development organizations (as well as organized urban citizens), it still maintained its neopatrimonial relationships with ruling elites. ‐3‐ This essay will show that the decreasing influence of international development organizations (a result of both deliberate actions and the changing aid environment) may increase the relative influence of ruling elites and organized urban citizens on the state. It will do so by analyzing the influence international development organizations have via their (1) financial resources (2) expertise and ability to sensibiliser1 government officials, and (3) ability to act in concert with other international development organizations, as well as civil society groups. This decreasing influence of international development organizations may be beneficial to long-term sustainable development in the sense that these organizations were not necessarily successful by their own goals and standards even when they had more influence. However, it is also problematic. The trouble appears from looking at the historical progression of state interactions with other stakeholders since 1960. This paper’s analysis of that progression shows that decreasing pressure from international development organizations will not necessarily make the state more democratic or better at producing effective development policies for the majority of the Senegalese people. Instead, this decreasing pressure may leave more room for ruling elites and organized urban citizens to exert pressure on the state to make policy that benefits their particular group. Therefore, this paper will conclude that in order to make sure that Senegal continues to develop both economically and politically in an inclusive manner, international development organizations should make it a priority to empower and educate the people they aim to help – especially rural and urban non-elites –to enable these groups to have more access to and 1 Sensibiliser is French for “to make [the subject] aware of something, or to raise [the subject’s] awaremess of something.” However, in this context, it includes organizations presenting information on key issues to government officials, as well as providing the government with strategic technical assistance in the NGOs area of expertise or interest. ‐4‐ influence over the state.2 In this way international development organizations can work so that Senegal’s future is one where the state is accountable to more of its people in crafting and implementing policy, and works to promote the development of the entire country.
Towards Peace in Our Time: Addressing Extreme Right-Wing Responses to Immigration and Multiculturalism Policy in Western Europe
Travis Gidado
Email Kellianne Farnham for a copy of the introduction for this paper.
TWEED-NEW HAVEN AIRPORT: Analyzing transportation planning and environmental policy in a regional framework
Erica Schroeder
This essay seeks to evaluate the potential expansion of Tweed-New Haven Airport in the context of regional land use planning (or the lack thereof) in Connecticut.  The issue has been controversial for at least two reasons: the destruction of wetlands involved and the disturbance expansion would cause in the surrounding New Haven and East Haven neighborhoods.  This essay focuses on the former, though the two objections to expansion are intertwined. The debate over the expansion of the airport occurs within the context of Connecticut, its history and its present situation.  The first section of the essay reviews Connecticut’s basic governmental structure and history of control.  It also examines the specific history and current status of Tweed airport and the wetlands surrounding it.  Groups from the federal government down to small neighborhood and environmental groups, from federal agencies to state agencies to local municipalities, have all gotten involved in determining the future of Tweed.  The second section of the essay investigates Tweed’s Master Plan for expansion and inventories the groups involved in the debate.  Today, these groups are in a deadlock.  Although the first step of the Master Plan seems ready to begin, there is little hope for future expansion, given the current governmental situation.  The third section of the essay analyzes the problems with these governmental structures and proposes possible solutions. Finally, although the best outcome of the debate remains ambiguous, the essay arrives at overriding conclusion: the state must get involved in the expansion debate for decisions to be made in the best interest of the region.  State involvement is the key to ending the current stalemate and bringing the debate over the future of the airport to the best conclusion for all parties involved.
Vanguards of International Justice A Critical Analysis of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia
Joshua Johnson
In this essay, I examine the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) through two different lenses.  First, I discuss the dynamic relationship between the tribunals and international politics.  International politics has shaped the prospects and possibilities of the ICTY and the ICTR, but the ad hoc tribunals have had a significant impact on international politics as well.  Most importantly, the tribunals have struck a considerable blow against the culture of impunity that has historically allowed notorious war criminals such as Pol Pot and Idi Amin to go unpunished.   Second, I examine the ad hoc tribunals’ accomplishments and failures and attempt to draw lessons that may be of use to future international courts.  The international community’s expectations for the ICTY and the ICTR were highly unrealistic.  Although the tribunals have expounded on important principles of international humanitarian law, they have had little impact on the war-torn societies for which they were created.  When possible, domestic trials or prosecutions before “hybrid courts,” which employ a mixture of foreign and domestic lawyers and judges and are located in the country where the crimes to be prosecuted occurred, are often preferable to trials before purely international tribunals.  Still, international tribunals such as the ICC continue to have an important role to play in bringing perpetrators to justice.  Trials before international tribunals strengthen international norms by signaling the international community’s condemnation of atrocities.  Furthermore, the threat of international prosecutions may deter some political elites from engaging in genocide and other crimes against humanity.  Two fundamental tensions continually reemerge in my analysis of the ICTY and the ICTR.  The first is the tension between law and politics.  Judicial bodies are traditionally thought of as apolitical institutions.  In the words of Hannah Arendt, “The purpose of a trial is to render justice, and nothing else.”   The Security Council, however, intended for the ICTR and the ICTY to contribute to the political goal of maintaining international peace and security.  Furthermore, since the ad hoc tribunals lack their own police forces to collect evidence and arrest indicted individuals, they rely on international cooperation and are thus significantly affected by international politics.  The ad hoc tribunals, however, have also had an impact on international politics by generating substantial international pressure to hold suspected war criminals accountable for their crimes.  International politics has shaped the international tribunals, but the tribunals have shaped international politics as well.  The second tension is between the tribunals’ different audiences.  From the time of their establishment, the ICTY and the ICTR have been asked to meet the needs of two distinct constituencies.  First, the tribunals are supposed to serve an “international audience” that cares primarily about the tribunals’ contributions to the growth and development of international law.  Although this international audience is primarily composed of academics and other international law experts, it also includes a number of human-rights activists, politicians, and other individuals who support the further expansion and codification of international norms.  The members of this constituency want the ICTY and the ICTR to serve as positive precedents for future international tribunals, so they are deeply concerned about the ad hoc tribunals’ international legitimacy and their reputation for independence and impartiality.  Since this international audience is the primary source of the tribunals’ moral, political, and financial support, the tribunals must be particularly sensitive to this group’s needs and wishes.  Second, the tribunals are also supposed to fulfill the needs of a “national audience”: the people of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.  Although the interests of the tribunals’ two constituencies generally overlap, they do not always coincide.  When conflict has occurred, the tribunals have often appeared more concerned about advancing international law than they have about fostering national reconciliation in Rwanda and the Balkans.