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Analyzing decision records from committees

Moritz Marbach

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 4, 832-848

Abstract: In the absence of a complete voting record, decision records are an important data source to analyze committee decision-making in various institutions. Despite the ubiquity of decision records, we know surprisingly little about how to analyze them. This paper highlights the costs in terms of bias, inefficiency, or inestimable effects when using decision instead of voting records and introduces a Bayesian structural model for the analysis of decision-record data. I construct an exact likelihood function that can be tailored to many institutional contexts, discuss identification, and present a Gibbs sampler on the data-augmented posterior density. I illustrate the application of the model using data from US state supreme court abortion decisions and UN Security Council deployment decisions.

Date: 2021
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