Cross-national measurement of polarization in political discourse: Analyzing floor debate in the U.S. the Japanese legislatures

Takuto Sakamoto, Hiroki Takikawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Political polarization in public space can seriously hamper the function and the integrity of contemporary democratic societies. In this paper, we propose a novel measure of such polarization, which, by way of simple topic modelling, quantifies differences in collective articulation of public agendas among relevant political actors. Unlike most other polarization measures, our measure allows cross-national comparison. Analyzing a large amount of speech records of legislative debate in the United States Congress and the Japanese Diet over a long period of time, we have reached two intriguing findings. First, on average, Japanese political actors are far more polarized in their issue articulation than their counterparts in the U.S., which is somewhat surprising given the recent notion of U.S. politics as highly polarized. Second, the polarization in each country shows its own temporal dynamics in response to a different set of factors. In Japan, structural factors such as the roles of the ruling party and the opposition often dominate such dynamics, whereas the U.S. legislature suffers from persistent ideological differences over particular issues between major political parties. The analysis confirms a strong influence of institutional differences on legislative debate in parliamentary democracies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2017
EditorsJian-Yun Nie, Zoran Obradovic, Toyotaro Suzumura, Rumi Ghosh, Raghunath Nambiar, Chonggang Wang, Hui Zang, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Xiaohua Hu, Jeremy Kepner, Alfredo Cuzzocrea, Jian Tang, Masashi Toyoda
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages3104-3110
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538627143
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1
Event5th IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2017 - Boston, United States
Duration: 2017 Dec 112017 Dec 14

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2017 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2017
Volume2018-January

Other

Other5th IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period17/12/1117/12/14

Keywords

  • comparative analysis
  • latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA)
  • legislative debate
  • parliamentary politics
  • political polarization
  • topic models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Control and Optimization

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