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Nonverbal contention and contempt in UK parliamentary oversight hearings on fiscal and monetary policy

Schonhardt-Bailey, Cheryl (2017) Nonverbal contention and contempt in UK parliamentary oversight hearings on fiscal and monetary policy. Politics and the Life Sciences, 36 (1). pp. 27-46. ISSN 0730-9384

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Identification Number: 10.1017/pls.2017.7


In parliamentary committee oversight hearings on fiscal policy, monetary policy and financial stability, where verbal deliberation is the focus, nonverbal communication may be pivotal in the acceptance or rejection of arguments proffered by policymakers. Systematic qualitative coding of these hearings in the 2010-15 UK Parliament finds that: (1) facial expressions, particularly in the form of anger and contempt, are more prevalent in fiscal policy hearings, where backbench parliamentarians hold frontbench parliamentarians to account, than in monetary policy or financial stability hearings, where the witnesses being held to account are unelected policy experts; (2) comparing committees across chambers, hearings in the Lords’ committee yield more reassuring facial expressions relative to hearings in the Commons’ committee, suggesting a more relaxed and less adversarial context in the former; and (3) central bank witnesses appearing before both the Commons’ and Lords’ committee tend towards expressions of appeasement, suggesting a willingness to defer to Parliament

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Association for Politics and the Life Sciences
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 13:19
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 03:42

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