Interest Group Access and Campaign Spending Limits: Evidence from Brexit
Scholars have long been focussed on studying lobbying and potential influence that such activities can have on public policy. The ability to lobby state actors, however, critically depends on having access to them in the first place. So far much of the theoretical and empirical literature on potential mechanisms of acquiring access has been limited to donations or other forms of financial transactions. In this study I argue that in pluralist states with campaign spending limits, the influence of money is more restricted and other mechanisms such as economic importance, long period of state-government interactions and ideological proximity play an important role in meeting government officials. I use government transparency reports for 2010-2017 from the ministerial departments in the UK to measure the level of access and saliency of policy issues that provide evidence of the importance of these alternative mechanisms.
Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Women’s Voice in Post-Conflict Reconciliation
(with Denisa Kostovicova)
We study women's speaking behavior to find out why women's presence in debates about post-conflict justice does not result in gender-responsive outcomes. To explain women's presence without influence, we investigate whether processes behind those outcomes are themselves gendered. We apply multi-method text analysis to an original corpus of over half a million words in six languages from civil society debates in the Balkans. These debates preceded the adoption of the Statute of the Regional Fact-finding Commission that did not reflect women's needs and concerns. Our analysis shows that male dominance at the micro-level of turn-taking and the absence of topics addressing gender-specific experience of conflict can drive gender-insensitive outcome, rather than commonly assumed indicators of gender inequality such as women's representation, including the frequency, length and the deliberative quality of their speech. This study contributes novel insights to why gender-just peace is elusive despite women's increased participation in peace-making.
Emotion Shift and Transitional Justice: Micro- and Macro-level Effects in Justice Debates in the Balkans
(with Denisa Kostovicova and Ivor Sokolic)
Scholars have studied the role of emotions in conflict (onset and dynamics) and in transitional justice processes (war crimes trials and truth commission). In contrast, we only have an intuitive understanding of emotions in a search for justice - before a transitional justice mechanism is put in place - that involves former adversaries. Drawing on theories of agonistic democracy, that foreground conflict and passions in the politics of divided societies, we study the affective dimension of justice-seeking. We account for varying levels of ethnic polarization within dyads involved in a regional conflict, and check wider societal emotional effects of justice-seeking. This longitudinal study is the first to link empirically micro- and macro-level emotional shift through transitional justice-seeking. The study applies quantitative text analysis to a corpus of 1 million words of multi-lingual transcripts of transitional justice debates in the Balkans, in combination with a six-country survey of some 6,000 respondents. This project furthers the study of emotions in conflict and peace processes by demonstrating how communicative interactions across ethnic lines account for the affective dimension of justice-seeking at a micro- and a macro-level.
Selected work in progress
Record Linkage with Text: Merging Data Sets When Information is Limited
The recent years have seen the emergence of new, more scalable ways to link information about individuals across multiple data sources. However, merging data sets when the number of variables used for record linkage is restricted remains challenging. In this paper I consider the case when the information is limited to a single multi-token text string. This situation often occurs when researchers work with organisation names, user accounts or any other short labels. In this paper I run a simulation study showing the limitations of the existing approaches that under-perform due to a lack of standardisation and short length of text. Despite these caveats, some information, such as probability of encountering different words remains unexploited by the currently available methods. I propose an alternative approach, where the constituent tokens are weighted by their overall language frequencies. This method is applied to simulated data, as well as large number of government transparency reports from the UK. The proposed weighting method offers a more robust and scalable approach both to deduplicating the transparency reports and linking them to organisation-level covariates.
Parliament in Crisis: Power of Representative Assemblies in XVII century
(with Toni Rodon)
The standard explanation for the rise of medieval legislative assemblies invokes the idea that rulers lacking resources were forced to bargain with the societal actors who control them, thus conceding rights and representation. Yet, while most previous works have focused on the bargaining process between early representative assemblies and the monarch, we do not know much about how legislative actors behaved during these power voids. We contend that elites in early representative assemblies used these power struggles to signal their sovereignty over the realm. We empirically examine this logic using the activity reported in the XVII century in the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, two of the longest established representative assemblies in the world. In order to capture the power of both representative assemblies, we implement a novel strategy based on entropy of topic shares in daily records of parliamentary activity. Our findings show that elites in both representative assemblies strategically used power voids in order to signal their sovereignty preferences and eventually extract concessions from the Monarchy. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of early legislative assemblies and provide a new way of measuring institutional power through the analysis of text.
Independent Media in Electoral Autocracies
(with Bryn Rosenfeld, Katerina Tertytchnaya and Kohei Watanabe)