DP17270 Analyzing the Agenda of the U.K. Parliament Over the Long Run

Author(s): William Walker Hanlon
Publication Date: May 2022
JEL(s): H1, N4
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=17270

This article develops a method for quantitatively tracking the agenda of the British Parliament -- by which I mean the substantive topics on which Parliamentary debate was focused -- from 1810-2005 using descriptions of 1.7 million Parliamentary debates from the Parliamentary Hansard. This provides a new tool for analyzing the evolution of the British political system across nearly two centuries. I describe and validate this new measure and then present an application that focuses on assessing the influence of the party in government on the Parliamentary agenda.