Arthur Spirling with birds
Papers and Research


MEASURING AND EXPLAINING POLITICAL SOPHISTICATION THROUGH TEXTUAL COMPLEXITY (With Kenneth Benoit and Kevin Munger) Software here.

Under review


DIMENSIONS OF DIPLOMACY: UNDERSTANDING PRIVATE INFORMATION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS USING THE WIKILEAKS CABLE DISCLOSURE (With Michael Gill)

Under review


TEXT PREPROCESSING FOR UNSUPERVISED LEARNING: WHY IT MATTERS, WHEN IT MISLEADS, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT (With Matthew Denny) Replication materials, including software here.

Political Analysis, Vol 26 (2): 168--189


CLASSIFICATION ACCURACY AS A SUBSTANTIVE QUANTITY OF INTEREST: MEASURING POLARIZATION IN WESTMINSTER SYSTEMS (With Andrew Peterson) Online Appendix here. Replication materials here.

Political Analysis, vol 26(1): 120--128 (2018) .


ASKING TOO MUCH? THE RHETORICAL ROLE OF QUESTIONS IN POLITICAL DISCOURSE (With Justine Zhang and Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil )

Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, 1558--1572


THE SHADOW CABINET IN WESTMINSTER SYSTEMS: MODELING OPPOSITION AGENDA-SETTING IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 1832--1915 (With Andrew Eggers)

British Journal of Political Science, vol 48(2): 343--368.


INCUMBENCY EFFECTS AND THE STRENGTH OF PARTY PREFERENCES: EVIDENCE FROM MULTIPARTY ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM (With Andrew Eggers)

Journal of Politics, 79(3): 903--920


DEMOCRATIZATION AND LINGUISTIC COMPLEXITY: THE EFFECT OF FRANCHISE EXTENSION ON PARLIAMENTARY DISCOURSE, 1832--1915

Journal of Politics, 78(1): 120--136.


RESPONSE TO "STATISTICAL MODELLING OF CITATION EXCHANGE BETWEEN STATISTICS JOURNALS" BY VARIN ET AL

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 179(1): 56--57.


PARTY COHESION IN WESTMINSTER SYSTEMS: INDUCEMENTS, REPLACEMENT AND DISCIPLINE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 1836--1910 (With Andrew Eggers)

British Journal of Political Science, 46 (3): 567--589 (2016).


ESTIMATING THE SEVERITY OF THE WIKILEAKS US DIPLOMATIC CABLES DISCLOSURE (With Michael Gill)

Political Analysis, 23 (2): 299-305 (2015)


I am the organizing contributor/editor of a special issue of Legislative Studies Quarterly on British Political Development. This special edition consists of six papers, on various aspects of UK legislative behavior in the nineteenth century. The table of contents is here. My introduction to the special issue can be found here:

BRITISH POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT: A RESEARCH AGENDA

My coauthored paper in the special issue can be found here:

ELECTORAL SECURITY AS A DETERMINANT OF LEGISLATOR ACTIVITY, 1832--1918: NEW DATA AND METHODS FOR ANALYZING BRITISH POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT (With Andrew Eggers)

Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol 9, No 4.


GUARDING THE GUARDIANS: LEGISLATIVE SELF-POLICING AND ELECTORAL CORRUPTION IN VICTORIAN BRITAIN (With Andrew Eggers)

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 9, no. 3 (2014): 337--370


MINISTERIAL RESPONSIVENESS IN WESTMINSTER SYSTEMS: INSTITUTIONAL CHOICES AND HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATE, 1832--1915 (With Andrew Eggers)

American Journal of Political Science, 58, 873--887


MODELING 'EFFECTIVENESS' IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (With Jonathan Renshon)

Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 52 (2), 207--238 (2015)


COMMENT [on "Political Polarization and the Dynamics of Political Language: Evidence from 130 Years of Partisan Speech"]

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2012


RADICAL MODERATION: RECAPTURING POWER IN TWO PARTY PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS (with Tasos Kalandrakis)

American Journal of Political Science, Vol 56, No 2, 413--432


US TREATY-MAKING WITH AMERICAN INDIANS: INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND RELATIVE POWER, 1784--1911

American Journal of Political Science, Vol 56, No 1, 84--97. Replication materials are here


TESTING THE POWER OF ARGUMENTS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE: A BRADLEY-TERRY APPROACH (with Peter Loewen and Daniel Rubenson)

Electoral Studies, Vol 31, No 1, 212--221


STRATEGIC OPPOSITION AND GOVERNMENT COHESION IN WESTMINSTER DEMOCRACIES (With Torun Dewan)

American Political Science Review, Vol 105, No 2, 337--358.


SCALING THE CRITICS: UNCOVERING THE LATENT DIMENSIONS OF MOVIE CRITICISM WITH AN ITEM RESPONSE APPROACH (with Michael Peress)

Journal of the American Statistical Association Vol. 105, No. 489: 7183.


IDENTIFYING INTRA-PARTY VOTING BLOCS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM HOUSE OF COMMONS (with Kevin Quinn)

Journal of the American Statistical AssociationVol. 105, No. 490: 44745


TURNING POINTS IN THE IRAQ CONFLICT: REVERSIBLE JUMP MARKOV CHAIN MONTE CARLO IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

The American Statistician, 61:4, 2007


BAYESIAN APPROACHES FOR LIMITED DEPENDENT VARIABLE CHANGE POINT PROBLEMS

Political Analysis, 15(4), 2007


UNDER THE INFLUENCE? INTELLECTUAL EXCHANGE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE (with David Carter)

PS: Political Science and Politics, 41(2), 2007


THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS OF ROLL CALLS (with Iain McLean)

Government and Opposition, 41(4), 561--568.


UK OC OK? INTERPRETING OPTIMAL CLASSIFICATION SCORES FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM HOUSE OF COMMONS (with Iain McLean)

Political Analysis 15 (1) Winter, 2007.


TAPIR AND THE PUBLIC WHIP: RESOURCES FOR WESTMINSTER VOTING (with David Firth)

The Political Methodologist 14 (2)


NONE OF THE ABOVE: THE UK HOUSE OF COMMONS VOTES ON REFORMING THE HOUSE OF LORDS, FEBRUARY 2003 (with Iain McLean and Meg Russell)

The Political Quarterly, 74, 298--310.


THE NEXT BIG THING: SCALE INVARIANCE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE

`Power laws' suggest that events of a large magnitude will be rare, whilst small events will be much more common, and that a simple mathematical law relates `severity' with frequency. We find that a wide variety of phenomena in political science are power law distributed. These empirical regularities are both unexpected and unexplained. More work on a general explanatory theory for these patterns is desirable.

Note: this (version of the) paper was cited in Common ecology quantifies human insurgency appearing in Nature, 17 December 2009.


REBELS WITH A CAUSE? LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY AND THE PERSONAL VOTE IN BRITAIN, 1997--2005 (available on request)

Does a Member of the British Parliament's voting record have any effect on their constituency electoral performance? Scholars have assumed not, else they have tested the proposition with an extremely limited number of roll calls. Congruent with public opinion findings we contend that, paradoxically, voters conditionally reward both 'party unity' and 'independent mindedness' in their elected representatives. Using novel non-parametric 'random forest' classification procedures, and a new data set recording behavior on over 2000 roll calls from 1997--2001 and 2001--2005, along with commensurate constituency controls, we thus show that MPs' popularity is indeed effected by their legislative activity in small but significant ways. In particular, government-party voters demand unity on votes that are key parts of the government's programmatic agenda, while welcoming more 'maverick' behavior on less important issues.


POWER TOOL- MEASURING POWER IN POLITICAL SCIENCE: A NEW METHOD WITH APPLICATION TO THE SENATE

The measurement of power, even in structured settings like legislatures, has proved elusive. We discuss the problems with traditional, a priori voting indices approaches and suggest a data-driven, actor-based, (logistic regression) method that is straightforward to implement. This treatment is consistent with systematic theoretical models and discussions of power, and formally allows the separation of 'power' from its causes. To illustrate the strengths of this new technique, we apply the model to the 108th United States Senate. We find that institutional, ideological, personal and geographic variables all influence senators' power.