Seminar: Exogenous Shocks, Policy Responses and Legislative Debates - Jens Wäckerle (University of Cologne), with Sven-Oliver Proksch and Jan Schwalbach
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Date: 8 July, 2020
14:00-15:00 - Connected_Politics Seminar: Legislative debates
Abstract: Legislators are not only keen on implementing their electoral pledges, but also need to be constantly prepared to respond to unforeseen exogenous shocks. Such shocks may substantially impact legislators’ priorities as they may have to trade-off previously held pledges and necessary policy responses. We study how MPs respond to two important localized shocks: to sudden changes to immigration and to the economy. We expect that MPs representing regions that are affected by such shocks are more likely to substantially change their issue priorities during legislative debates. We use the sudden increase in refugees across Europe as well as sudden changes to the local economy to compare MPs’ issue priorities during legislative debate on the basis of a difference-in-differences approach. We base our analysis on structural topic models applied to a novel dataset of legislative debates, encompassing the most comprehensive, machine-translated corpus of legislative speeches from nine European countries over the last decade. Our results have important implications for the study of policy-making in parliaments after exogenous shocks and for our understanding of how politicians’ issue priorities are driven by localized events.