Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Second Committee Member

Brink Kerr

Keywords

Social sciences; Education; Lottery; Public initiatives; Scholarships; Social construction; Target populations

Abstract

Lottery policies have been created by many states to generate additional funds to support public initiatives, such as higher education scholarships. In 2009, Arkansas adopted a lottery to generate higher education scholarships. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the Arkansas state lottery policy design process to better understand how the Social construction of higher education students and other citizens became embedded within the policy. The Social construction of target populations theory (Ingram & Schneider, 1993), guided three research questions regarding how policy actors in Arkansas Socially constructed citizens while designing lottery legislation, how these Social constructions became embedded within the policy, and how the Social constructions became communicated to the public. Through 18 participant interviews, document analysis, and journaling, this study examined how policy actors Socially constructed target populations while forming lottery policy. The findings were presented as a descriptive analysis, which outlined the development of the lottery policy, and an interpretive analysis, which was guided by the three research questions. In the current study, I found that policy actors Socially constructed three targeted populations when designing the lottery scholarship act: (a) students as beneficiaries, (b) lottery players supplying the extra revenue, identified as mostly composed of low-income citizens, and (c) retailers and vendors as beneficiaries. Policy actors embedded these constructions into the policy design through several ways: (a) the initiated act developed constructions of students, (b) the modification of the Academic Challenge scholarship, (c) competing goals for this policy were created since access did not necessarily guarantee degree completion, and (d) the retail and vendor community received favorable benefits in the form of commission and state contracts. These constructions were communicated to the public by the messages created in the Hope

for Arkansas lottery campaign and the development of the policy, which was conveyed through the media and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The study concludes with recommendations for future research and implications for policy and practice, which focus on sustainability of scholarship award amounts, programs for the poor, and strategies to accomplish degree completion and access goals within the policy.

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