Looking inside the Black Box: Intra-Party Policy and Party Policy Statements

Research question/goal: 

Parties are diverse organizations with ideologically diverse memberships. However, scholars often treat campaign messages as if they were created in isolation from parties’ organizations. Differences in the preferences of groups active within parties and the structures organizing those preferences likely influence the content of parties’ election campaigns and behaviour. A lack of appropriate data impedes the study of the intra-party behaviour. By focusing on parties’ internal decision-making process, this project will explore the effect of intra-party group preferences and rules on party statements of preference and party behaviour. In particular, I propose to collect speeches given, the documents distributed and the rules governing party meetings from a range of OECD countries over time to facilitate cross-national and temporal analyses. Using automated text classification techniques, I will then use these texts to study the party’s decision-making structure, statements of preferences such as election manifestos and party behaviour more broadly. The results from this project will hold important implications for our understanding of democratic electoral competition and provide a useful instrument to study a range of political questions.

Fact sheet

Data Sources: 
Party Congress Speeches, Voting Records, Party Manifestos, Survey Data, Parliamentary Records
Geographic Space: 
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, United Kingdom