Browsing Politics and International Relations Research Collection by Type "Conference Publication"
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- PublicationDimensionality Reduction and Visualisation Tools for Voting RecordRecorded votes in legislative bodies are an important source of data for political scientists. Voting records can be used to describe parliamentary processes, identify ideological divides between members and reveal the strength of party cohesion. We explore the problem of working with vote data using popular dimensionality reduction techniques and cluster validation methods, as an alternative to more traditional scaling techniques. We present results of dimensionality reduction techniques applied to votes from the 6th and 7th European Parliaments, covering activity from 2004 to 2014.
- PublicationThe impact of the crisis on the Irish political system(The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, 2009-11-26)The international financial crisis manifests itself in Ireland not only as a crisis of the banking system, but also as a major fiscal crisis, aggravated by years of soft revenue policy and a housing bubble that has burst spectacularly. The severe drop in economic output results in a crisis of employment and a definitive end to the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era of rapid growth and nearfull employment. Although the political system has proven resilient thus far, with membership of the Euro preventing the catastrophic political crises that affected Latvia and Iceland, for example, the crisis has revealed significant weaknesses in political system. This paper considers institutional shortcomings in three arenas through which policies to deal with the crisis must be managed: the parliamentary system, the public administration, and social partnership structures.
- PublicationThe Politics of Tough Budgets: The Eurozone Periphery 2008-2011The global financial crisis opened large budget deficit and public debt problems in the countries of the Eurozone periphery –Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain. All have been required to adopt budget retrenchment measures, particularly so for the first three once they entered EU-‐IMF loan programmes. This paper analyses the dynamics of fiscal responses to the crisis across the four cases, using the content of budget decisions and the profile of budgetary outcomes as the principal primary data. These countries provide interesting variation on several dimensions: in the origins of the crisis (with different mixes of public and private sector debt), in initial responses to the crisis (prioritizing an expansionary or a contractionary stance), in the composition of budget adjustment (revenue-‐raising or expenditure-‐cutting), and in the evolution of their budgetary stance over time. The paper uses the full resources of case study methods to examine the policy configurations that underpin commonality and variation, and to expose the elements involved in complex causal processes. This analytical strategy enables us to investigate the political economy conditions underpinning fiscal policy choices in hard times.
- PublicationRepresentative Democracy Takes a 'Deliberative Turn'(European University Institute, 2012-09)In a set of papers published in his final years, Peter Mair expressed strong and ever more urgent concerns over the state of party politics and the future of representative politics itself . The aim of this paper is to examine his thesis. I start in the next section by setting out the main points of Mair’s arguments on party and democratic failure. I next consider the question of whether the evidence supports such a perspective, or whether in fact there are signs of adaptability and change. This then leads to a discussion about the reform agenda in established representative democracies, an agenda that in a growing number of cases is bringing deliberation centre stage.
- PublicationTweeting Europe: A text-analytic approach to unveiling the content of political actors' Twitter activities in the European ParliamentTwitter is an important platform for communication and is frequently used by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to campaign and en- gage in discussion with constituents and colleagues in the parliament. Ex- amining the issues that MEPs talk about on Twitter can thus inform us about their political priorities. Topic modelling aims to summarise a corpus of documents by capturing the underlying hidden structure of the data and pre- senting the user with an overview of the key subjects and themes discussed in the corpus, known as topics. This paper aims to quantify and explore the content that MEPs pay attention to on Twitter by applying a new en- semble approach for topic modelling which involves applying two layers of Non-Negative Matrix Factorisation (NMF). The resulting set of issues paid attention to by MEPs are explained by considering the effects of events, is- sue characteristics, and MEP characteristics.
- PublicationUnveiling the Political Agenda of the European Parliament Plenary: A Topical AnalysisThis study analyzes political interactions in the European Parliament (EP) by considering how the political agenda of the plenary sessions has evolved over time and the manner in which Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have reacted to external and internal stimuli when making Parliamentary speeches. It does so by considering the context in which speeches are made, and the content of those speeches. To detect latent themes in legislative speeches over time, speech content is analyzed using a new dynamic topic modeling method, based on two layers of matrix factorization. This method is applied to a new corpus of all English language legislative speeches in the EP plenary from the period 1999- 2014. Our findings suggest that the political agenda of the EP has evolved significantly over time, is impacted upon by the committee structure of the Parliament, and reacts to exogenous events such as EU Treaty referenda and the emergence of the Euro-crisis have a significant impact on what is being discussed in Parliament.
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