Seeing the Person for the Country? Foreign Leader Salience on the US Congress Floor

43 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2021 Last revised: 7 Dec 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

Why do country leaders assume greater salience to outsiders in some - but not other, cases in international relations? The election interventions literature has argued that when the policy positions of candidates running in elections grow further apart, outsiders are more likely to back the candidates they find most congruent, by using direct support of a candidate (via promises of aid, for example) or by calibrating support for democratic processes in a country to make the victory of the preferred candidate more likely. We build on this research agenda to argue that policy polarization in a country will increase the salience of individual leaders to outside actors: it now literally makes a difference who will be in power. Noticing - and supporting leaders - becomes important. We test our argument about leader salience by scrap- ing speeches made on the floor of U.S. Congress. We show that policy divergence between the positions of candidates running in elections abroad gets them more personal recognition in Congress. We also show that leader mentions contain words that are associated with an interest in helping foreign leaders get elected. Our method and measure can help advance research on the importance of individuals in politics more broadly.

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

Suggested Citation

Rehbei, Ines and Elshehawy, Ashrakat and Marinov, Nikolay and Nanni, Federico, Seeing the Person for the Country? Foreign Leader Salience on the US Congress Floor (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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