My study is an examination into why military veterans have such disproportional representation in American politics. I call this phenomenon “The Veteran Effect” and hypothesize that the phenomenon can be explained by candidate who possess combat military veteran status and emphasize their veteran status during elections, producing a higher chance of success due to the perceived traits the veteran candidate possesses. My Independent Study includes a survey research experiment using Amazon MTurk and a comparative case study. In my research experiment, I will ask respondents to choose from three hypothetical candidates, one of whom is a veteran and heavily emphasizes their campaign brochure on their veteran status, a veteran candidate who only mentions their veteran status, and a non-veteran candidate. I will then ask survey respondents who selected the veteran candidate to select, from a list of traits, which traits they identified most with the veteran candidate. My comparative case study examines several Congressional races from the 2020 election and will compare a nation-wide sample of races featuring a combat veteran candidate v. a non-veteran political candidate. I expect to find the veteran candidates who most emphasize their status will have the highest likelihood of election.
Mills, Willem, "The Veteran Effect: From Battlefield to Ballot Box" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9442.
Military, Voting, Elections, Politics, Psychology
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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