Browsing Public Policy Theses and Dissertations by Subject "agency"
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- ItemEssays in Human Rights and Education: Accommodating Vulnerable Minorities(2012) Kosko, Stacy Jeanne; Crocker, David A.; Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Numerous questions arise in the effort adequately to accommodate and serve minority students in public education, not the least of which are questions concerning how education decisions are made, by individuals, groups, or the state itself. This dissertation begins with the broadest, most far-reaching kinds of decisions, those made by groups (or representatives of groups) during the process of education policy formation. It then moves closer to home (and school), to the narrower kinds of decisions made by individual parents, school officials, and school-age children. The first essay engages in a broad theoretical discussion, applicable beyond education policy, and then applies this perspective to indigenous education. It asks: How might we evaluate the degree of self-determination that indigenous peoples exercise in decisions that affect them? In order to answer this question, this chapter suggests a theoretical framework for evaluating public participation and applies it to Sámi education policy-making in Norway. The second essay engages in a similarly broad theoretical discussion, though in this case it is motivated by an education policy problem. It asks: What ought to be the role of parental consent in education decisions that affect their children? It takes as its jumping-off point three European Court of Human Rights cases of educational discrimination against members of the Roma population, Europe's largest, poorest, and fastest-growing minority group. The final, and most applied, essay proceeds in the reverse order, beginning with an empirical question, and concluding with a discussion of the theoretical implications of the results. This essay uses quantitative methods to test whether Roma students do, in fact, have a higher drop-out rate than similarly situated non-Roma students and, finding that they do, asks why. This chapter goes on to investigate the labor market for Roma and subsequently to delve into the role of adaptive preference formation in schooling decisions (Do Roma really not "value" education, as is so often suggested?). The work closes with a short discussion of areas for future research.
- ItemParticipatory Budgeting in the Dominican Republic: Implications for Agency, Democracy and Development(2014) Vasquez Duran, Marie Claire; Graham, Carol; Crocker, David A; Public Policy; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)This study examines participatory budgeting (PB) as an important kind of citizen participation in the Dominican Republic (DR) and the implications of this recent practice for agency, democracy, and development. PB is a process that intends to drive change with specific outcomes: through deliberative decision-making, ordinary citizens select well-being- and agency-enhancing projects that ideally lead to more local and authentic development. Together with the attainment of these tangible outcomes, valuable subjective states may also come about: people feel more in charge of their own lives, community groups become more collaborative and cooperative, and more and better democracy is fostered. Taking a step forward from previous studies that only focus on PB from an urban planning or public finance perspective, the overall objective of this study is to provide a deeper understanding and assessment of how PB works in the localities under analysis, its association with different measures of agency, the characteristics that drive its success or failure, and its general impact on the lives of individuals and communities. Drawing on normative and policy-based literatures and specifically following an agency-oriented capability approach, this study uses a mixed-methods approach to analyze interview, survey, and direct observations of PB public assemblies, and archival data with respect to the 2013 budget cycle in four DR municipalities. A regression analysis finds that participation in and awareness of PB are both significantly correlated with individuals reporting higher levels of individual and collective agency when compared to non-participants and unaware individuals. These measures of agency are contextualized to the municipal budget-planning cycle. A process tracing analysis concludes that PB is likely, under certain conditions, to increase democratic participation and deliberation. However, due to certain democratic deficits, PB in two DR municipalities does not always increase agency, group cooperative functioning, and good development. Thus, PB must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis because differences in the characteristics of each PB assembly may lead to different outcomes. It is finally argued that rather than condemning democracy because of the failures of the current PB system, we should advance PB's democracy further by improving it in various ways.