23.04.24 17:07:20
Vol. 38-1 (April 2023) Unraveling the Thought Probes of US Legislators on Trade Negotiations: Sentiment Analysis of the 108th and 112th US Congressional Speeches*


A plethora of literature has investigated the voting behavior of US legislators on trade bills to reveal a possible causal mechanism. Relying on dichotomous roll-call voting data, however, has certain limitations on revealing the comprehensive thought probes of lawmakers on a complex diplomatic issue such as making an FTA deal. In this paper, we provide new insight to fill such a gap by analyzing congressional speech data during FTA ratification procedures. Using an automated web scraper, we collected the entire speech data (N = 5,372) of Senators and House Representatives in the 108th and 112th US Congress regarding AUSFTA and KORUS FTA, respectively. The speech sentiment analysis results show background and context (i.e., attitude-behavior inconsistency) in the process of trade negotiations and agreements. Additionally, the results help identify important factors (i.e., ideology, constituency stimuli) that influence whether members of Congress stand for and against the FTA implementations.

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