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Locating TDs in policy spaces: the computational text analysis of Dáil speeches

Laver, Michael and Benoit, Kenneth ORCID: 0000-0002-0797-564X (2002) Locating TDs in policy spaces: the computational text analysis of Dáil speeches. Irish Political Studies, 17 (1). pp. 59-73. ISSN 0790-7184

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Identification Number: 10.1080/714003143


This article adapts a new technique for the computerised analysis of political texts, previously used to analyse party manifestos, to the analysis of speeches made in a legislature. The benefits of computerised text analysis come from the ability to analyse, for the first time, complex and daunting electronic sources of text, such as the parliamentary record. This allows the systematic estimation of the policy positions of individual political actors, with huge benefits both for theory development and empirical analysis. In this article, the technique is used to analyse all 58 English language speeches made in the October 1991 confidence debate on the future of the incumbent Fianna Fáil-PD coalition. The task was to use the words spoken in the debate to locate every one of the individual speakers on a 'pro- versus anti-government' dimension. The purpose was, first, to examine the validity of computerised text analysis when applied to legislative speeches and, second, to answer substantively interesting questions about the positions of individual Irish legislators in 1991. The results vindicate the use of computerised analysis in the context of legislative speeches and locate all speakers in the 1991 debate in a substantively interesting policy space.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2002 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 16:57
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 17:06

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