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Scaling policy preferences from coded political texts

Lowe, Will, Benoit, Kenneth, Mikhaylov, Slava and Laver, Michael (2011) Scaling policy preferences from coded political texts. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 36 (1). pp. 123-155. ISSN 0362-9805

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.uiowa.edu/~lsq/
Additional Information: © 2011 The Comparative Legislative Research Center of The University of Iowa
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > Methodology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2011 11:05
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/33885/

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