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“Legislators’ Sentiment Analysis Supervised by Legislators” by Akitaka Matsuo & Kentaro Fukumoto
March 24, 2021 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Abstract: The sentiment expressed in legislator’s speech is informative, in particular in a legislature with partisan discipline. But extracting legislators’ sentiment requires polarity dictionaries or labeled data, which are labor-intensive to construct and could be subjective. To address this challenge, we propose a research design to exploit closing debates on a bill, where legislators themselves label their speech by pro or con. We apply our method to the corpora of all speeches in the Japanese national legislature, 1955–2014. After establishing the face validity of our sentiment scores, we show that, to a moderate degree, government backbenchers and opposition members get more polarized as the next election is approaching, although both sides come together towards the end of a legislative session.