What's in a Proper Name? Whether Leaders Matter

40 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2021

See all articles by Ines Rehbei

Ines Rehbei

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Oxford

Nikolay Marinov

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group

Date Written: February 22, 2021

Abstract

International relations research is animated by the notion that leaders matter. Existing approaches rely on proxies such as regime type to infer the importance of individuals. We propose a new measure, one based on leader mentions relative to country mentions in the relevant text. We construct the measure by scraping speeches made on the floor of U.S. Congress. We demonstrate the promise of our proposal by testing propositions developed in the study of election interventions. We show that policy divergence between the positions of candidates running in elections abroad gets them more noticed by Congress. We also show that leader mentions contain words associated with candidate interventions and concern with democracy. We demonstrate that as democracy matures, individual leader salience dims and opposition leaders catch up on visibility with incumbents. We make our software available to be used by researchers. Our method and measure can help advance research on the importance of leaders - and individuals - in politics more broadly.

Keywords: Leaders, Election Interventions, US Congress, Named-Entity Recognition

Suggested Citation

Rehbei, Ines and Elshehawy, Ashrakat and Marinov, Nikolay and Nanni, Federico, What's in a Proper Name? Whether Leaders Matter (February 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3790847 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3790847

Ines Rehbei

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Oxford ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States

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

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group ( email )

Germany

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