Monitoring Democratic Five Year Plans : Multiple Coding of British Manifestos and U.S. Platforms, 1945-1997


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This research project represents a pilot scheme which investigated the feasibility of (1) multiple manual coding of British and American election programmes; (2) testing new coding schemes for the analysis of British and American election programmes, and (3) computerisation of coding of election programmes. The base for the project was the work of the Manifesto Research Group (MRG) which was established in the early 1980s by Ian Budge and collaborators to enable the cross-national and cross-temporal analysis of election programmes on the basis of a common coding scheme. This had produced a robust and detailed dataset of material pertaining to 19 countries which provided large numbers of scholars with material to test hypotheses covering substantive issues relating to parties and government, such as the dynamics of coalition formation or the relationship between party policy and government expenditure. Any single coding scheme, however robust, will necessarily abstract drastically from the content of the original documents under scrutiny. Even within political science there is debate on the extent to which specific promises might tell us something different from the general priorities abstracted. Other disciplines may also find that different coding schemes could offer them new avenues for research which were hitherto unable to be pursued. Furthermore, there have been extensive studies based on surveys, e.g. the World Values study, which could be combined with programmatic material to monitor whether political parties reflect the concerns of electorates if the manifestos were coded in a manner more appropriate to their purposes. In addition, it was felt that new approaches to coding, such as multiple manual coding assisted by computer, and fully computerised coding, would help to accelerate the process of data collection, help to reduce costs, and in the case of the latter create a more reliable basis for analysis. Other studies by Ian Budge and the Manifesto Research Group are currently held at the UK Data Archive under SN 3437 Comparative Manifestos Project : Programmatic Profiles of Political Parties in Twenty Countries, 1945-1988, and SN 2139 ECPR Party Manifestos Project, 1921-1987.

Main Topics:

The datasets included in this study represent proportions of coded text of all standard British general election manifestos for the Conservative, Labour and Liberal/Liberal-SDP Alliance/Liberal Democratic parties from 1945 to1997 (apart from specific editions of the manifestos published for use in a specific region or specific interests), and all American Presidential platforms for the Democratic and Republican parties from 1948-1996. In the case of each country, specific datasets (or subsets) have been created according to seven distinct coding schemes as follows: pledges, policy domains, policy salience, public opinion, values and attitudes, computer derived policy coding frame, and computerised policy salience. Please see documentation for further details.

No sampling (total universe)

Transcription of existing materials

data were coded from existing political party documents. Text on World Wide Web, held in html forma

Metadata Access
Creator Budge, I., University of Strathclyde, Department of Politics; Tanenbaum, E., University of Essex, Department of Government; Bara, J., University of Essex, Department of Government
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2000
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights No information recorded; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p><p>Commercial use of the data requires approval from the data owner or their nominee. The UK Data Service will contact you.</p>
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Numeric; where 'individual' is the party
Discipline Economics; Humanities; Jurisprudence; Law; Philosophy; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage Great Britain; Multi-nation; United States