Field Seminar B, 2009-2010, PhD

The Field Seminar B course handout is available here, although we are still working out the content and some of the topics for later sessions.

The first four weeks look like this:

Week 1: (2 Oct 2009): Ken Benoit " Measuring Policy Positions through Text I

Week 2: (9 Oct) Ken Benoit " Measuring Policy Positions through Text II

Week 3: (16 Oct) Gail McElroy " Legislative Organization: Party Influence

Week 4: (23 Oct) Gail McElroy " Legislative Organization and Behaviour: Beyond Congress

The detailed reading list for these first four weeks is:

Week 1: Measuring Policy Positions through Text I (Kenneth Benoit)

Budge, Ian, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara & Eric Tanenbaum. 2001. Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945"1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Especially Introduction, Chapters 1-4, Appendix II.

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara, Ian Budge & Michael McDonald. 2006. Mapping Policy Preferences II: Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, European Union and OECD 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Especially Introduction, Chapters 4-6.

Kenneth Benoit, Slava Mikhaylov, and Michael Laver. 2009. “ Treating Words as Data with Error: Uncertainty in Text Statements of Policy Positions.” American Journal of Political Science 53(2, April): 495-513.


  1. You must read the manifesto coding instructions, found here (from Appendix II of MMP1 and MMP2).
  2. Code the test manifesto from this document (Appendix II) as an exercise, but only the sections headed WE WILL GROW, PROSPER and ALLIANCES.


Volkens, Andrea. 2001a. Manifesto Research Since 1979. From Reliability to Validity. In Estimating the Policy Positions of Political Actors, ed. Michael Laver. London: Routledge pp. 33"49. ** **

Week 2: Measuring Policy Positions through Text II (Kenneth Benoit)

Jonathan B. Slapin and Sven-Oliver Proksch. 2008. “A Scaling Model for Estimating Time-Series Party Positions from Texts”, American Journal of Political Science 52(3), 705-722.

Laver, Michael, Kenneth Benoit & John Garry. 2003. “Estimating the policy positions of political actors using words as data.”_ American Political Science Review_ 97(2):311"331.

Laver, Michael & John Garry. 2000. “Estimating Policy Positions from Political Texts.“A_merican Journal of Political Science _44(3):619"634.


Budge, Ian and Paul Pennings. 2007. “Do They Work? Validating Computerised Word Frequency estimates against policy series.” Budge and Pennings_. Electoral Studies_ 26: 121-129.

Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver. 2007. “Benchmarks for Text Analysis: A Reply to Budge and Pennings."Electoral Studies 26:130"135.

Budge, Ian and Paul Pennings. 2007. “Missing the message and shooting the messenger: Benoit and Laver’s ‘response’.” _Electoral Studies _26: 136-141

See also:

Week 3: Legislative Organization: Party Influence (GM)

Gary Cox and Mathew McCubbins. 2005. Setting the Agenda. Cambridge: CUP. Part I, Chapters 3,4,7,10&11.

Keith Krehbiel. 1993. “Where’s the Party?"British Journal of Political Science. 23: 235-266

Lawrence ED, Maltzman F, Smith SS. 2006. Who wins? Party effects in legislative voting _Legislative Studies Quarterly _31 (1) : 33-69

Aldrich, John H. and David W. Rohde. 2001. “The Logic of Conditional Party Government: Revisiting the Electoral Connection.” In Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer (eds.), Congress Reconsidered 7th ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press: 269-292.

Suggested Reading:

Krehbiel, Keith. 1998. Pivotal Politics: A Theory of U.S. Lawmaking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Edward H. Stiglitz and Barry R. Weingast, 2009, “Agenda Control in Congress: Evidence from Cutpoint Estimates and Ideal Point Uncertainty.” Manuscript. Available at

Mayhew, David R. 1974. Congress: The Electoral Connection. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Week 4: Legislative Organization and Behaviour: Beyond Congress (GM)

Simon Hix, Abdul G. Noury and Gérard Roland. Democratic politics in the European Parliament. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2007.

McElroy, Gail and Kenneth Benoit. 2009. “Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament.” . Forthcoming BJPS .

Yoshinaka, Antoine, Gail McElroy and Shaun Bowler. Manuscript. Rapporteurs in the European Parliament: Partisans or Honest Brokers?

Stephen A. Meserve , Daniel Pemstein and William T. Bernhard. 2009. Political Ambition and Legislative Behavior in the European Parliament.The Journal of Politics, Vol. 71(3): 1015"1032

Suggested Reading:

McElroy, Gail. 2007. “Legislative Politics as Normal?: Voting Behaviour and Beyond in the European Parliament”. European Union Politics

Ken Benoit
Ken Benoit
Professor of Computational Social Science
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