Political Science, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Political Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Kevin B. Smith. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2010
Copyright 2010 Douglas R. Oxley


Prior models of the policy process have examined how human characteristics can affect policy decision-making in such a way that it leads to aggregate effects on policy outcomes as a whole. I develop a model of the policy process which suggests that emotions related to fair and unfair experiences in the same policy domain are utilized by decision-makers as policy criteria. In the lab, I empirically tested this, and find that emotions and experience related to fairness do influence the policy decision to move away from the status quo alternative. Based upon this result, I simulated the evolution of a society of agents engaged in decision-making using similar criteria. The simulation suggests that incentives have an important role in leading to cooperation and social success. The external validity of the simulation also implies that it can act as a platform for future evolutionary policy experimentation.