Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Jennifer Fitzgerald

Second Advisor

David Brownd

Third Advisor

Victoria HunterP


The existence of political interest in society is critical for the health and future of all democracies and countries aspiring to become democracies. Likewise, a populace having the ability and willingness to participate in politics is crucial for a healthy society. An interest in politics and a desire to participate are not the same thing as actually being able to participate. Currently, there is a lack of literature which examines these phenomena on a country level. This study will examine the role that country level variables play in determining the propensity for a society to engage in political action and its interest level in politics. These relationships will be tested using graphical and statistical methods. I find several interesting relationships between my dependent and independent variables, which help explain why some countries are more interested/participatory than others, as well as provide avenues for additional research.

Principally, I conclude that the primary country level variable affecting the level of interest in politics within a country to be average wealth. I also find that multiple country level variables correlate significantly with the propensity to engage in political action, including: Education, income, democracy, press freedom, corruption and infrastructure. I consider corruption to be the most pervasive problem for a country as a whole, and I will delve more deeply into this relationship. Finally, I conclude that country level variables affect political interest and the willingness to engage in political action differently.