Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-6-2019


Andersen, K. (2019). The Future of the Death Penalty in Nebraska: Utilizing Bruce Bueno De Mesquita's Predictioneer's Game to Create a Forecast Model of Capital Punishment. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Katie Andersen 2019.


This thesis investigates the future of the death penalty in Nebraska with the goal of producing a forecast model of the issue utilizing Bruce Bueno De Mesquita’s Predicationeer’s Game software. Local and national politics are included to give a comprehensive idea of why Nebraska is in the hot seat in terms of capital punishment. Understanding the politics of the issue is vital to realizing the challenges of changing Nebraska’s policy on capital punishment and further explains the conflicted history between key players in the state.

The Predictioneer software requires input data of key players’ positions on the issue, influence, salience, flexibility, and veto power in order to best predict the outcome. The issue continuum scale is divided into positions ranging from zero to one encompassing seven positions a player can take on the issue. With the input, the Predictioneer framework follows bargaining round by round position changes in order to forecast bargaining, conflict, compromise, risk, and opposition, leading to a prediction resulting in a stable outcome near a singular position.

Two separate input data are chosen to be run. The first runs an analysis over the current key players and results in a prediction of .32 on the issue continuum with an end rule of 4. The second input data runs an analysis engineering the future, replacing one of the most important actors with another much less influential and passionate about the capital punishment debate, resulting in a skewed prediction.