Social Sciences – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Research Discipline(s): Social Sciences

Carbon Taxes by Any Other Name

Carbon taxes come in many forms, but the main two are explicit carbon taxes, where carbon emitted is taxed by volume, and emissions trading systems, where governments give companies permits for how much carbon they can emit. International organizations such as OECD and World Bank have created their own rankings of carbon taxes by country. However, neither of these rankings encompasses every carbon tax. Our study incorporates a broader array of taxes to more accurately measure the performance of a country in reducing its emissions, and thus yield a more accurate ranking. Country-by-country and industry-by-industry statistics on taxation, expenditure, emissions, and product mainly from the OECD database were collected. Carbon tax data was also collected from the OECD’s figures on all environmentally related tax revenue in 2016. Calculations involving the data were performed to evaluate each country’s carbon intensity per currency unit of consumption expenditure, which were compared across countries and across industries. By the end of the semester, we will have a new ranking and a paper written on our methods as well as a comparison of our new ranking to the OECD’s previous ranking. We expect our new ranking to be similar; however, countries in the European Union will likely have higher levels of carbon taxes in our ranking since the OECD does not account for their emissions trading systems. Our goal for this project is to give activists more precise data to lobby their governments to increase carbon taxes and curb the effects of climate change.

Carbon Taxes by Any Other Name

Carbon taxes come in many forms, but the main two are explicit carbon taxes, where carbon emitted is taxed by volume, and emissions trading systems, where governments give companies permits for how much carbon they can emit. International organizations such as OECD and World Bank have created their own rankings of carbon taxes by country. However, neither of these rankings encompasses every carbon tax. Our study incorporates a broader array of taxes to more accurately measure the performance of a country in reducing its emissions, and thus yield a more accurate ranking. Country-by-country and industry-by-industry statistics on taxation, expenditure, emissions, and product mainly from the OECD database were collected. Carbon tax data was also collected from the OECD’s figures on all environmentally related tax revenue in 2016. Calculations involving the data were performed to evaluate each country’s carbon intensity per currency unit of consumption expenditure, which were compared across countries and across industries. By the end of the semester, we will have a new ranking and a paper written on our methods as well as a comparison of our new ranking to the OECD’s previous ranking. We expect our new ranking to be similar; however, countries in the European Union will likely have higher levels of carbon taxes in our ranking since the OECD does not account for their emissions trading systems. Our goal for this project is to give activists more precise data to lobby their governments to increase carbon taxes and curb the effects of climate change.

Pedagogy in a Pandemic: Undergraduate Student Perceptions of Online Instruction

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students have experienced a shift in learning from the traditional classroom to pursuing education through virtual and remote learning. This study aims to understand what the relationship is between students’ perception of online classes and their perception around the pandemic as it relates to their lives. There is also an interest in examining what the major changes were for students during their experience of transitioning from the traditional educational setting to taking online classes. The study compares the previously mentioned perceptions for students in the U.S. and China and relies on data collected from a survey distributed to undergraduate students from a Midwestern University and a University in China. The respondents include 252 U.S. students and 162 Chinese undergraduate students. The data is currently being examined in detail, however, a basic analysis displayed similarities in the perspective of the students in the different countries. Textual comments from students illustrate that students seem to view the opportunity to spend more time with family and focus on health and exercise while spending more time outdoors as a positive implication of the pandemic. There are also similarities in what is perceived with a more negative outlook as students in both countries expressed experiencing difficulty of study and accessing educational resources along with less social interaction and loss of freedom. Understanding the student response to alterations in education during unprecedented times can present beneficial insight that may be applied to future instructional and institutional learning methods. Obtaining an understanding of these perspectives will enable educators to make pedagogical recommendations and prepare for possible future disruptions in learning. The research could also have implications for how colleges identity and factor student needs into planning student safety measures and learning experiences in the current pandemic and any similar future event.

How Can Social Support Impact Life Perspectives in the COVID-19 Pandemic?

This study aims to examine life perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic by surveying university students. Relevant studies that were used to help with this study include “Stress and the environment” (Baum et al., 1981) and “The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence” (Brooks et al., 2020). One question that is examined within this topic is: does social support encourage optimistic perspectives on life during adverse events? For methods, 238 university students were recruited from two psychology courses at a large public university in the midwest of the United States. Ages ranged from 18 to 27 years, and there was a variety in race and the level of education attained by the parents of the respondents. In regards to the survey itself, there were four measures”””How Life Is Changing,” “Social Interaction,” “Retrospective Advice for the Self One Year Ago,” and “Time Perspectives.” Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Although results are preliminary, they provide some evidence in how promoting greater social interaction during global health crises””such as the COVID-19 pandemic””can help to potentially protect or foster optimistic views about one’s future. Further surveying and research will be able to reveal more. With this data, measures to take during global health crises to help mental health can be more educated and better informed.

Continuous evaluation of instruction

How teachers respond to the multiple events going on as they teach was studied using first-person mobile eye-tracking recordings. By learning more about this topic learning can be improved for young children, especially when classes are moved online. During this project, 30 videos of classroom lessons including a mobile eye tracking record from the teacher were coded Teachers often overlook a wide range of “distractions.” Separate coding of distractions shows that children engaged in a range of misbehavior, and were distracted by classmates’ activity. Complicating the situation for teachers is the fact that their responses to distractions often cause further class interruption. Understanding the complex cognition teachers engage in (while also teaching) will help us to understand the nature of expertise in classroom management and teaching..

Participation in Computing

This qualitative analysis project is very relevant in the current world we are living in. With COVID-19 impacting students form of learning from the classroom to their house, it is important to remember that not all students have the same luxury. For example, some students may not have access to Wi-Fi or a laptop. Therefore, schools need to join the movement for broadening participation in computing (BPC) because there are many ways that people, especially students, can engage with computing. The relevant work for this study focuses on changing students’ perceptions of computing to be more ‘positive’. This project also focuses on a figured world and how students have a social position in it. Ultimately the study works to understand the question: what do women who participated in BPC programs view as participation in computing? Especially now during a pandemic, when everything is online.

Carbon Taxes by Any Other Name

Intro and problem statement: Our research has focused on the impact of carbon taxes on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Current international rankings and information is not clearly calculated and has left out a number of taxes that do have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, although the taxes are not explicitly described as carbon taxes. The goal of this project is to create a broader definition and model of carbon taxes so that we can re-rank countries and determine which strategies are best at reducing global emissions.

Carbon Taxes by Any Other Name

Our research has focused on the impact of carbon taxes on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Current international rankings and information is not clearly calculated and has left out a number of taxes that do have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, although the taxes are not explicitly described as carbon taxes. The goal of this project is to create a broader definition and model of carbon taxes so that we can re-rank countries and determine which strategies are best at reducing global emissions.

The role of social media in electoral politics and violence in sub-Saharan Africa

Election violence remains a regular occurrence in many countries around the world. This project aims to identify and better understand the online atmosphere of politically affiliated groups on social media during violent elections in sub-Saharan Africa. We consider specifically the case of Côte d’Ivoire, where multiparty elections have been routinely tainted by violence since the 1990s. In the most recent presidential elections, at least 87 people were killed in election-related violence. Data for this project are collected from CrowdTangle, a Facebook API, that tracks social media posts in public Facebook groups. The dataset (N=2,073,664) includes all posts in 169 public Facebook groups supporting the five main political candidates in Côte d’Ivoire from 1/1/2015 to 12/1/2020. This time period covers two presidential elections (2015 and 2020), one legislative election (2016), and a constitutional referendum (2016). UROP students were tasked with coding photo and video content from the 6,248 posts that received at least 500 likes and the 2,963 posts that had at least 100 shares. The students also collected the names of the posters in order to infer ethnicity. We anticipate finding variation in support for democracy or violence conditional on political party affiliation. Trends in content may help uncover key tensions behind election-related violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Understanding the political dynamic of Ivoirians on social media will better help us understand the proliferation of violent rhetoric around elections, who is likely to use it, and perhaps inform policy interventions on reducing election-related violence.

Diversifying Congress though Protest

More recent elections in the United States have seen an increase in minority and women representation. Since the conception of the nation, there have been pushes in order to make the people that we elect truly representative of the people who work for them. The 2018 election marked a historic increase in female identifying members of Congress, or a Women’s Wave as it has been called. Our research revealed how external factors such as the Women’s Marches and the Black Lives Matter movement directly influenced recent elections. We compiled research on Congressional candidates’ biographies such as their age, race, gender identity sexual orientation, political party, and their history of activism. This data was used in connection with information that we collected on protests such as Black Lives Matter and the Women’s Marches. Our research highlights the impact that these social movements had on the increased representation in Congressional elections.

lsa logoum logo