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Measuring Group Differences in High-Dimensional Choices: Method and Application to Congressional Speech

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  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro
  • Matt Taddy

Abstract

We study the problem of measuring group differences in choices when the dimensionality of the choice set is large. We show that standard approaches suffer from a severe finite-sample bias, and we propose an estimator that applies recent advances in machine learning to address this bias. We apply this method to measure trends in the partisanship of congressional speech from 1873 to 2016, defining partisanship to be the ease with which an observer could infer a congressperson’s party from a single utterance. Our estimates imply that partisanship is far greater in recent years than in the past, and that it increased sharply in the early 1990s after remaining low and relatively constant over the preceding century.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Matt Taddy, 2016. "Measuring Group Differences in High-Dimensional Choices: Method and Application to Congressional Speech," NBER Working Papers 22423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22423
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0491-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Autor, David & Dorn, David & Hanson, Gordon & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2016. "Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure," Working Papers 2016:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Benjamin Ogden, 2017. "The Imperfect Beliefs Voting Model," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-20, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:95-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Government Ideology and Economic Policy-Making in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6444, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Robert J. Shiller, 2017. "Narrative Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 967-1004, April.
    7. Matthew Gentzkow & Bryan T. Kelly & Matt Taddy, 2017. "Text as Data," NBER Working Papers 23276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dodge Cahan & Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "The Democratic-Republican Presidential Growth Gap and the Partisan Balance of the State Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 6517, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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