Session 1: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Panel A: Development From Multiple Angles: Private and Public Perspectives on Social and Governmental Intervention

Moderator: Steve Reifenberg


Student Confidence in the Chilean Constitutional Process

Luke Schafer, University of Notre Dame

In October 2020, 78% of Chilean voters manifested a desire for a new constitution; however, nearly two years later, on September 4, 2022, those same voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed new Constitution. The result raised the question: what happened? How did the process fail in its first iteration? The project I propose to present aims to answer these questions. I conducted field research in Santiago, Chile, and argue that, fundamentally, the Chilean Constitutional Process failed because of a lack of confidence in the constitutional process. In Santiago, I interviewed 18 students, and many expressed a lack of confidence in the process – particularly in the members of the Constitutional Convention. Those who expressed less confidence were far more likely to vote against the Constitution than those who trusted  the process. A key part of my research is explaining why this loss of confidence occurred – I suggest Convention scandals, lack of ideological diversity, and pre-existing distrust of public institutions, among other reasons – and my findings are important because no researcher has previously examined the role of citizen confidence in the success of constitutional processes. With other Latin American countries seeking to rewrite their constitutions, my research can shed light on how nations can avoid certain pitfalls, while empowering their citizens to create the change they deserve.


American Humanitarianism: The Unique Opportunity for US Military Policy in a World Increasingly Confronted with the Realities of Climate Change

Bennett Hawley, College of William & Mary

The foreign policy of the United States is at a point of inflection. Policymakers are confronted by the arrival of climate change, intensifying US-China great power competition, damaged American credibility, faltering US global health leadership, and the lack of American grand strategy. Most pressingly, the window for completely preventing climate change has passed as increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent and devastating natural disasters affect populations worldwide. In order to develop an effective response to these challenges, we should learn from previous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR) which have been shown to significantly change a country’s perception abroad, deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, improve the readiness of a country’s military, while also building resilience and providing aid during times of need. As such, this paper specifically recommends policymakers consider increasing reactive HADR missions, improving HADR mission readiness, increasing proactive HA missions, increasing funding for HADR and HADR-capable assets, and reforming the combatant command structure.


Venture Progress and SME Development in a Business Incubator

Liam Coolican, University of Notre Dame

Worldwide, SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) play an essential role in the economy. They are especially important in a country such as South Africa in which the unemployment rate is among the world’s highest. Yet the failure rate for these ventures remains high. Previous research on business incubation has concluded that they can reduce failure rates significantly.

This research expands on existing literature which has identified factors influencing the success of a business incubator. However, the vast majority of existing studies have analyzed the factors that exist within the incubator, not those of the SME itself. This research seeks to fill that void by surveying and interviewing SMEs at a mixed-use incubator in Johannesburg, South Africa. I attempted to answer the question: how do various factors impact venture progress at the selected incubator?

This project was cross-sectional using a survey design. I identified four principal independent variables: venture characteristics, entrepreneurial characteristics, use of incubator services, and access to external resources. I examined how these categories impact venture progress, or the movement towards the creation of a sustainable enterprise.

The second phase involved semi-structured interviews with selected participants. These interviews allowed me to achieve a deeper understanding of the previously mentioned variables. The responses also allowed me to consider a second question: how effectively is the selected incubator meeting the stated needs of its clients? This study therefore serves as both an empirical research project in the field of business incubation and a potential policy prescription for the incubator.


Community Water Governance in Fiji

Quinton Hayre, University of Notre Dame

4 billion people globally experience at least one month a year of water scarcity (Unicef 2020). Water insecurity is expected to increase due to more extreme and unpredictable weather events such as floods, storms, and droughts (Unicef 2022). Fiji, a Pacific Island nation, experiences a significantly high rate of destructive natural events impacting its tourism and agricultural sectors and health infrastructure including clean water and adequate sanitation (Des Combes 2019). Fiji’s agricultural sector consists of 93 percent of subsistence farmers many of whom live in remote geographies and have limited access to market economies (Agriculture Department of Fiji 2020). Through 31 semi-structured interviews among adult members of a small mountainous village in the western half of Viti Levu, my research utilizes the concept of disaster vulnerability to understand how rural Fijian community water committees are organized. The study examines socio-political processes and actors involved in promoting water security, despite limited governmental support. Previous research on this topic examines gender roles in decision-making structures in rural community water committees (Nelson et. al 2021). In contrast, my research aims to understand how natural disasters influence the structure and capacity of the rural community water committee. The qualitative results of the study indicate a lack of capability among subsistence-based farming villages practicing community water governance in establishing proper labor quantity, material access, and economic capacity to manage and expand their water systems as a result of frequent natural infrastructure damage.