Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Statistics, Politics and Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Wagschal, Uwe

2 Issues per year

Online
ISSN
2151-7509
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Themes and Topics in Parliamentary Oversight Hearings: A New Direction in Textual Data Analysis

James Sanders
  • London School of Economics, Department of Government, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Giulio Lisi
  • London School of Economics, Department of Government, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey
  • Corresponding author
  • London School of Economics, Department of Government, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-04-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/spp-2017-0012

Abstract

This paper contributes to the growing empirical work on deliberation in legislatures by proposing a novel approach to analysing parliamentary hearings using both thematic and topic modelling textual analysis software. We explore variations in deliberative quality across economic policy type (fiscal policy, monetary policy and financial stability) and across parliamentary chambers (Commons and Lords) in UK select committee oversight hearings during the 2010–2015 Parliament. Our overall focus is not only to suggest a multi-method approach to the textual analysis of parliamentary data, but also to explore more substantive aspects of parliamentary oversight, such as: (1) the extent to which oversight varies between unelected and elected policy makers; and (2) whether parliamentarians conduct oversight more forcefully or more along partisan lines when they are challenging fellow politicians as opposed to central bank officials. Our findings suggest consistent differences in deliberative styles between types of hearings (fiscal, monetary, financial stability) and between chambers (Commons, Lords).

References

  • Bachtiger, A. and D. Hangartner (2010) “When Deliberative Theory Meets Empirical Political Science: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges in Political Deliberation,” Political Studies, 58:609–629.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Bachtiger, A., M. Neblo, M. Steenbergen, and J. Steiner (2010) “Symposium: Toward more Realistic Models of Deliberative Democracy, Disentangling Diversity in Deliberative Democracy: Competing Theories, their Blind Spots and Complementarities,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 18(1):32–63.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Barabas, J. (2004) “How Deliberation Affects Policy Opinions,” American Political Science Review, 98(4):687–701.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bawn, K. (1995) “Political Control Versus Expertise: Congressional Choices about Administrative Procedures,” American Political Science Review, 89(1):62–73.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Blei, D. (2012) “Probabilistic Topic Models,” Communications of the ACM, 55(4):77–84.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Blei, D. and J. Lafferty (2006) Dynamic topic models, In: ‘23rd International Conference on Machine Learning’, Pittsburgh, PA.Google Scholar

  • Blei, D. and J. Lafferty (2007) “A Correlated Topic Model of Science,” The Annals of Applied Statistics, 1(1):17–35.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Blei, D. and J. Lafferty (2009) “Topic models. Text mining: Classification, Clustering, and Applications,” Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 71–94.Google Scholar

  • Blei, D. M., A. Y. Ng, and M. I. Jordan (2003) “Latent Dirichlet Allocation,” Journal of Machine Learning Research, 3:993–1022.Google Scholar

  • Boley, D. (1998) “Principal Direction Divisive Partitioning,” Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 2(4):325–344.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Brandsma, G. J. and T. Schillemans (2013) “The Accountability Cube: Measuring Accountability,” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 23(4):953–975.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Feinstein, B. (2014) Congressional control of administrative agencies. Working Paper. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2304497.

  • Goodin, R. (2000) “Democratic Deliberation within,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, 29(1):81–109.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Greenacre, M. (1993) Correspondence Analysis in Practice. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Grimmer, J. (2010) “A Bayesian Hierarchical Topic Model for Political Texts: Measuring Expressed Agendas in Senate Press Releases,” Political Analysis, 18(1):1–35.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Grimmer, J. and B. Stewart (2013) “Text as Data: The Promise and Pitfalls of Automatic Content Analysis Methods for Political Texts,” Political Analysis, 21:267–297.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Grün, B. and K. Hornik (2011) “topicmodels: An r Package for Fitting Topic Models,” Journal of Statistical Software, 40(13):1–30.Google Scholar

  • Huber, J. and C. Shipan (2000) “The Costs of Control: Legislators, Agencies, and Transaction Costs,” Legislative Studies Quarterly, 25(1):25–52.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Huber, J. D. and C. R. Shipan (2002) Deliberate Discretion?: The Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Illia, L., K. Sonpar, and B. Bauer (2014) “Applying Co-Occurrence Text Analysis with Alceste to Studies of Impression Management,” British Journal of Management, 25:352–372.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Keslo, A. (2012) Development and Reform in the UK House of Commons Departmental Select Committee System: The Leadership Role of Chairs and the Impact of Government/Opposition Status. ECPR Standing Group on Parliaments General Conference, Dublin.Google Scholar

  • Lancia, F. (2017) T-LAB Plus 2017 User’s Manual, T-Lab.Google Scholar

  • Laver, M. and J. Garry (2000) “Estimating Policy Positions from Political Texts,” American Journal of Political Science, 44(3):619–634.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Laver, M., K. Benoit, and J. Garry (2003) “Extracting Policy Positions from Political Texts using Words as Data,” The American Political Science Review, 97(2):311–331.Google Scholar

  • McGrath, R. (2013) “Congressional Oversight Hearings and Policy Control,” Legislative Studies Quarterly, 38(3):349–376.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Mucciaroni, G. and P. J. Quirk (2006) Deliberative Choices: Debating Public Policy in Congress. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Proksch, S.-O. and J. B. Slapin (2014) The Politics of Parliamentary Debate: Parties, Rebels and Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Quinn, K., B. Monroe, M. Colaresi, M. Crespin, and D. Radev (2010) “How to Analyze Political Attention with Minimal Assumptions and Costs,” American Journal of Political Science, 54(1):209–228.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Quirk, P. J. and S. A. Binder (2005) The Legislative Branch. Institutions of American Democracy, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Reinert, M. (1998) Manuel du logiciel ALCESTE (Version 3.2) (computer program), ALCESTE.Google Scholar

  • Roberts, M. E., B. M. Stewart, and D. Tingley (2014a) “stm: R Package for Structural Topic Models,” R package version 0.6 1.Google Scholar

  • Roberts, M., B. Stewart, D. Tingley, C. Lucas, J. Leder-Luis, S. Gadarian, B. Albertson, and D. Rand (2014b) “Structural Topic Models for Open-Ended Survey Responses,” American Journal of Political Science, 58(4):1064–1082.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Russell, M. (2013) The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Salton, G. (1989) Automatic Text Processing: The Transformation, Analysis, and Retrieval of Information by Computer. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar

  • Savaresi, S. and D. Boley (2004) “A Comparative Analysis of the Bisecting k-means and the pddp Clustering Algorithms,” Intelligent Data Analysis, 6:345–362.Google Scholar

  • Schonhardt-Bailey, C. (2005) “Measuring Ideas More Effectively: An Analysis of Bush and Kerry’s National Security Speeches,” Political Science and Politics, 38(4):701–711.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Schonhardt-Bailey, C. (2006) From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas and Institutions in Historical Perspective. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Schonhardt-Bailey, C. (2015) “Explanation and Accountability: Deliberation in UK Select Committees, in ‘Conference on the Political Developments of Parties and Legislators in Canada, Britain and the United States,” University of Toronto.Google Scholar

  • Steiner, J., A. Bachtiger, M. Sporndli, and M. Steenbergen (2004) Deliberative Politics in Action: Analysing Parliamentary Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Tyrie, A. (2015) The Poodle Bites Back. Surrey: Centre for Policy Studies.Google Scholar

  • UK Parliament (2013) Revisiting Rebuilding the House: The Impact of the Wright Reforms. Third Report of Session 2013–14, The Stationary Office Ltd.Google Scholar

  • Wallach, H., I. Murray, R. Salakhutdinov, and D. Minmo (2009) “Evaluation Methods for Topic Models,” Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Machine Learning. Montreal, QC, Canada.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2018-04-19

Published in Print: 2017-12-20


Citation Information: Statistics, Politics and Policy, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 153–194, ISSN (Online) 2151-7509, ISSN (Print) 2194-6299, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/spp-2017-0012.

Export Citation

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in