Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Quantifying Attention to Foreign Elections with Text Analysis of U.S. Congress and the Presidency

43 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017  

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science

Nikolay Marinov

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group

Date Written: June 5, 2017

Abstract

We use web-scraping and text-analysis techniques to identify cases in which the U.S. government discussed democratization in other states, as well as considered or imposed foreign policy measures to affect liberalism abroad. We focus our search around periods surrounding foreign elections. Elections are important for democratization, and attract intense international scrutiny. We comb through more than 1.2 million documents contained in the Congressional Record and all congressional legislation, as well as the American Presidency Project. We utilize Natural Language Processing (NLP) approaches to extract all instances related to our search. The documents we retrieve represent the first measure of attention by U.S. Congress and the President to democratization and electoral practices abroad. Our approach improves considerably the precision, coverage and granularity of existing data. Democratization has been a prominent U.S. foreign policy goal yet researchers have been hampered by lack of appropriate tools to study the topic. Our data can be used as is, or further processed, to relate U.S. policy commitments to policy outcomes. We provide some examples. We utilize a set of best practices that, together with the data and code we supply, can be used by scholars in a wide variety of settings, to collect information on any policy response by a bureaucratic entity.

Keywords: Sanctions, Democratization, U.S. foreign policy, Congress, Presidency

Suggested Citation

Elshehawy, Ashrakat and Marinov, Nikolay and Nanni, Federico, Quantifying Attention to Foreign Elections with Text Analysis of U.S. Congress and the Presidency (June 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981486 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2981486

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science ( email )

Mannheim, D-68131
Germany

Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science ( email )

Mannheim, D-68131
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.nikolaymarinov.com/

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group ( email )

Germany

Paper statistics

Downloads
53
Rank
327,572
Abstract Views
203