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Scaling Policy Preferences from Coded Political Texts

Lowe, W; Benoit, K; Mikhaylov, S; Laver, M; (2011) Scaling Policy Preferences from Coded Political Texts. Legislative Studies Quarterly , 36 (1) 123 - 155. 10.1111/j.1939-9162.2010.00006.x. Green open access


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Scholars estimating policy positions from political texts typically code words or sentences and then build left-right policy scales based on the relative frequencies of text units coded into different categories. Here we reexamine such scales and propose a theoretically and linguistically superior alternative based on the logarithm of odds-ratios. We contrast this scale with the current approach of the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP), showing that our proposed logit scale avoids widely acknowledged flaws in previous approaches. We validate the new scale using independent expert surveys. Using existing CMP data, we show how to estimate more distinct policy dimensions, for more years, than has been possible before, and make this dataset publicly available. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the future design of coding schemes for political texts.

Type: Article
Title: Scaling Policy Preferences from Coded Political Texts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/j.1939-9162.2010.00006.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-9162.2010.00006.x
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 The Authors. Legislative Studies Quarterly published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Comparative Legislative Research Center of The University of Iowa. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: European integration, party positions, ideal points, words, uncertainty, assumptions, selection, nominate
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1302946
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