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A Scaling Model for Estimating Time-Series Party Positions from Texts
Jonathan B. Slapin and Sven-Oliver Proksch
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 52, No. 3 (Jul., 2008), pp. 705-722
Published by: Midwest Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25193842
Page Count: 18
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Political parties, Words, Time series, Political science, Confidence interval, Estimation methods, Statistical estimation, Word frequency analysis, Analytical estimating, Simulations
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Recent advances in computational content analysis have provided scholars promising new ways for estimating party positions. However, existing text-based methods face challenges in producing valid and reliable time-series data. This article proposes a scaling algorithm called WORDFISH to estimate policy positions based on word frequencies in texts. The technique allows researchers to locate parties in one or multiple elections. We demonstrate the algorithm by estimating the positions of German political parties from 1990 to 2005 using word frequencies in party manifestos. The extracted positions reflect changes in the party system more accurately than existing time-series estimates. In addition, the method allows researchers to examine which words are important for placing parties on the left and on the right. We find that words with strong political connotations are the best discriminators between parties. Finally, a series of robustness checks demonstrate that the estimated positions are insensitive to distributional assumptions and document selection.
American Journal of Political Science © 2008 Midwest Political Science Association