Linking media and political data on pension reforms

Limepoda (working title)

Description

The media play an important role in informing voters and facilitating discussion about policy proposals. Especially for potentially unpopular proposals, such as reforms in the welfare state, the (anticipated) public reaction to a proposal can make or break the proposal and even the submitter. For example, the 2006 proposal to fiscalise the public pension schema (AOW) by Labour leader Bos sparked a wide debate in the media while the actual implementation after the elections was hardly mentioned.
This project aims to explain when proposals lead to debate in the media and how debates in the media lead to proposals. For our project we decided to focus on proposals on the subject of pension reforms. To this end, we will collect longitudinal data of newspaper content and political documents (e.g. parliamentary proceedings, government press releases) that play a role in the debates. These documents will be collected from government websites, the Royal Library, and the PoliMedia and Mediatised politics projects. We will create a semantic network consisting of the collected documents and the actors and issues identified in those documents. While the explication of relations between events is known to be difficult, the availability of documents that clearly document these events, and a strong theoretical understanding of the relations that we are looking for will provide a concrete starting point.
Methodologically, the project combines an explorative fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analyses and inferential time series analysis.

Currently working on

  • Collecting relevant datasets
  • Visualizing frequency of pension debates from 1945 to now
  • Conceptualizing proposals
  • Defining relevant terms to pension reforms

Students

  • Roel Dijkman, r2.dijkman@student.vu.nl
  • Pim van de Pavoordt, p.vande.pavoordt@student.vu.nl

Supervisors

  • Dr. Wouter van Atteveldt, wouter@vanatteveldt.com, http://vanatteveldt.com/
  • Dr. Laura Hollink, l.hollink@vu.nl, http://www.cs.vu.nl/~laurah/
  • Dr. Barbara Vis, b.vis@vu.nl, http://www.barbaravis.nl/

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