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The most unkindest cuts: speaker selection and expressed government dissent during economic crisis

Herzog, Alexander and Benoit, Kenneth ORCID: 0000-0002-0797-564X (2015) The most unkindest cuts: speaker selection and expressed government dissent during economic crisis. Journal of Politics, 77 (4). 1157 - 1175. ISSN 0022-3816

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Identification Number: 10.1086/682670


Economic crisis and the resulting need for austerity budgets have divided many governing parties and coalitions in Europe, despite strong party discipline in the legislative voting on these harsh budgets. We measure these divisions using automated text analysis methods to scale the positions that legislators express in budget debates, in an effort to avoid punishment by voters for supporting austerity measures, while still adhering to strict party discipline by voting along party lines. Our test case is Ireland, a country that has experienced both periods of rapid economic growth as well as one deep financial and economic crisis. Tracking dissent from 1987 to 2013, we show that austerity measures undermine government cohesion, as verbal opposition markedly increases in direct response to the economic pain felt in a legislator’s constituency. The economic vulnerability of a legislator’s constituency also directly explains position taking on austerity budgets among both government and opposition.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 16:17
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 00:06
Projects: ERC-2011-StG 283794-QUANTESS.
Funders: European Research Council

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