Students participating in research with faculty are supported by Penn State Altoona Undergraduate Research Awards, as well as the George and Elizabeth Gardner Fellowship program.
Polling Forecasts and Election Markets: A New Comparison
Tyler Lucas with Dr. Nicholas Pyeatt, Spring 2012
In a previous paper, Dr. Pyeatt and Dr. Sean Childers created a computer simulation to 'bet' in an election market using information from polling forecasts. These results showed that polling averages would profit handsomely against the market, returning as much as 45% of a hypothetical investment. This test offered additional empirical support for the conclusion that polls and polling averages are a superior forecasting mechanism to election markets. The previous findings were based on a single election cycle, however, and the extension of the project is to add additional data for the 2012 election that can be used as a further test of success of polling aggregation over election markets. Student will be involved by collecting vote projections from poll aggregation websites in advance of the 2012 presidential election.
The Failure of Debt Relief: Why did the IMF and World Bank Develop the HIPC?
Makayla Zonfrilli with Dr. Pamela Blackmon, Spring 2012
This project examines internal and external factors responsible in the development of a program of debt relief for the poorest countries by the IMF and World Bank. Debt relief initiatives have been tried numerous times by bi-lateral creditors in order to encourage economic development and alleviate poverty in poor countries with little success. Precursors to debt relief in the form of foreign aid have also shown little success in alleviating poverty.
Thus the research question: Why did the IMF and World Bank develop a program in 1996 called the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) which would forgive the debt to the institutions owed by their poorest member states? In order to answer this question, this project will focus on the internal decision making processes of the IMF and World Bank and external forces such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the influence of the institutions' powerful member states in order to identify factors that explain why this debt relief program was developed by the institutions. The student will assist in gathering books, journal articles and other document for the research in addition to being introduced to concepts of hypothesis development, appropriate research design and methods of inquiry.
Use and Effect of New Media in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Erika Seasoltz with Dr. Matthew Evans, Spring 2012
This project investigates the way in which "new media" — internet blogs, you tube, etc. — are now replacing old media, television and newspapers, as the main vehicle for the two sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to promote their narrative to audiences around the world. The research will be both quantitative and qualitative. It will build on previous research on media framing in this conflict. The student has already begun working on this project. In the first stage she will have coded approximately 100 pro-Palestinian videos YouTube videos in an excel table. Coding topics include the nature of the sites, e.g. statistical, watchdog, satirical, age group of audience, the type of audience appeal, number of viewers etc. In the second stage, the student will examine and code pro-Israel videos.
Dr. Daniel DiLeo
Associate Professor of Political Science
Arts and Humanities
Office: 129B Smith Building