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Alberto Abadie, Lee Fleming, Adam Glynn, Guido Imbens, Gary King, Arthur Spirling, Jamie Robins, Don Rubin, Chris Winship

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25 September 2011

App Stats: Spirling on "Partisan Convergence in Executive-Legislative Interactions: Modeling Debates in the House of Commons, 1832-1915"

We hope you can join us this Wednesday, September 28, 2011 for the Applied Statistics Workshop. Arthur Spirling, Assistant Professor at the Department of Government at Harvard University, will present a paper entitled "Partisan Convergence in Executive-Legislative Interactions: Modeling Debates in the House of Commons, 1832-1915". A light lunch will be served at 12 pm and the talk will begin at 12.15.

"Partisan Convergence in Executive-Legislative Interactions: Modeling Debates in the House of Commons, 1832-1915"
Arthur Spirling
Government Department, Harvard University
CGIS K354 (1737 Cambridge St.)
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 12.00 pm

Abstract:

We consider the interaction between members of the executive and backbenchers in the House of Commons between the Great Reform Act and the Great War, a period of radical internal reform that birthed the Westminster system in its current form. We gather new data of over a million speeches in seventeen thousand debates to model the way in which the cabinet-legislative relationship changed over time. In particular, we conceptualize debates as Markov chains moving between speaker states and focus on estimating transition probabilities of the same. We take a Bayesian mixed model approach, allowing for debate-level and ministry-level variation. We show a remarkable "convergence" in the behavior of ministers from different parties, beginning between the mid-1870s and late-1880s and coinciding with a series of important standing orders relating to the ability to ask questions in the Commons. While Tory ministers generally become more responsive, Liberal ministers are less involved in debate.

Posted by Konstantin Kashin at September 25, 2011 9:44 PM