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Estimating policy positions using political texts: an evaluation of the wordscores approach

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This paper evaluates a recently developed method for extracting policy positions from political texts, known as Wordscores. This computerized content analysis technique is a potentially powerful tool for scholars interested in the study of political elites, since it promises an easy and efficient way of inferring policy position from texts and speeches. In this article, we provide a systematic evaluation of this promising method. Using Danish manifestos and government speeches from 1945 to 2005, we compare the policy positions extracted using Wordscores with measures of positions from the well-known Comparative Manifesto Project and cross-validate these with party expert surveys. Our analysis shows that the word scoring technique arrives at largely similar estimates to independently derived position measures and produces time series of government positions with high face validity.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/42081/

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