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Quantifying Political Relationships



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.


Corresponding author

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 (


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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



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Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Weschle Dataset

Supplementary materials

Weschle supplementary material
Online Appendix

 PDF (27.4 MB)
27.4 MB

Quantifying Political Relationships



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