Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-vkhs7 Total loading time: 0.366 Render date: 2023-02-07T01:24:52.548Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Quantifying Political Relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2018

Syracuse University
Simon Weschle is an Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 100 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244 (


In this article, I introduce a method that uses large-scale event data and latent factor network models to provide a new comparative measure of cooperation and conflict in public relationships among politicians, nonpartisan political actors, and societal actors. The approach has a number of advantages over existing techniques: It captures public relationships in a multitude of venues on a continuous basis, incorporates both partisan and nonpartisan actors, allows quantifying the relationship between any pair of actors, reflects that communication is not unidirectional but rather a back and forth, and can be applied to a large number of countries over time. I apply the method to 13 Western European countries from 2001 to 2014 and demonstrate that party relationships are determined by coalition status as well as policy differences. The measure is publicly available and can be incorporated into standard research designs.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


For helpful comments and advice, I thank the APSR editor Kenneth Benoit, four anonymous reviewers, James Adams, Ben Barber, Pablo Fernández-Vázquez, Sebastián Lavezzolo, Michael Ward, and Christopher Wlezien. Replication materials are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: The Quantified Political Relationships data are available at



Boschee, Elizabeth, Lautenschlager, Jennifer, O’Brien, Sean, Shellman, Steve, Starz, James, and Ward, Michael D.. 2015. “ICEWS Coded Event Data.” Scholar
Boschee, Elizabeth, Natarjan, Premkumar, and Weischedel, Ralph. 2013. “Automatic Extraction of Events from Open Source Text for Predictive Forecasting.” In Handbook of Computational Approaches to Counterterrorism, ed. Subrahmanian, V. S.. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
Eggers, Andrew C., and Spirling, Arthur. 2014. “Ministerial Responsiveness in Westminster Systems: Institutional Choices and House of Commons Debate, 1832–1915.” American Journal of Political Science 58 (4): 873–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fenno, Richard F. Jr. 1978. Home Style: House Members in Their Districts. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
Gerner, Deborah J., Schrodt, Philip A., and Yilmaz, Omur. 2009. “Conflict and Mediation Event Observations (CAMEO): An Event Data Framework for a Post-Cold War World.” In International Conflict Mediation: New Approaches and Findings, eds Bercovitcch, Jacob and Gartner, Scott Sigmund. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
Grimmer, Justin. 2013. Representational Style in Congress. What Legislators Say and Why It Matters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grimmer, Justin, Westwood, Sean J., and Messing, Solomon. 2015. The Impression of Influence: Legislator Communication, Representation, and Democratic Accountability. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Herzog, Alexander, and Benoit, Kenneth. 2015. “The Most Unkindest Cuts: Speaker Selection and Expressed Government Dissent during Economic Crisis.” Journal of Politics 77 (4): 1157–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoff, Peter D. 2005. “Bilinear Mixed Effects Models for Dyadic Data.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 100 (469): 286–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoff, Peter D. 2015. “Dyadic Data Analysis with amen.” Scholar
Hoff, Peter D., and Ward, Michael D.. 2004. “Modeling Dependencies in International Relations Networks.” Political Analysis 12 (2): 160–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
King, Gary, and Lowe, Will. 2003. “An Automated Information Extraction Tool for International Conflict Data with Performance as Good as Human Coders: A Rare Events Evaluation Design.” International Organization 57: 617–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lauderdale, Benjamin E., and Herzog, Alexander. 2016. “Measuring Political Positions from Legislative Speech.” Political Analysis 24 (3): 374–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mansbridge, Jane. 2003. “Rethinking Representation.” American Political Science Review 97 (4): 515–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, Lanny W., and Vanberg, Georg. 2008. “Coalition Government and Political Communication.” Political Research Quarterly 61 (3): 502–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Brien, Sean P. 2013. “A Multi-Method Approach for Near Real Time Conflict and Crisis Early Warning.” In Handbook of Computational Approaches to Counterterrorism, ed. Subrahmanian, V. S.. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
Proksch, Sven-Oliver, and Slapin, Jonathan B.. 2015. The Politics of Institutional Debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Sagarzazu, Inaki, and Klüver, Heike. 2017. “Coalition Governments and Party Competition: Political Communication Strategies of Coalition Parties.” Political Science Research and Methods 5 (2): 333–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Strom, Kaare. 2008. “Communication and the Life Cycle of Parliamentary Democracy.” Political Research Quarterly 61 (3): 537– 42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weschle, Simon. 2017. “The Impact of Economic Crises on Political Representation in Public Communication: Evidence from the Eurozone.” British Journal of Political Science. Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Weschle Dataset

Supplementary material: PDF

Weschle supplementary material

Online Appendix

Download Weschle supplementary material(PDF)
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Quantifying Political Relationships
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Quantifying Political Relationships
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Quantifying Political Relationships
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *