Scaling Policy Preferences from Negotiation Position Networks in the Council of the European Union


Normative evaluations and positive studies of legislative politics often require information about actors’ policy positions. This study presents a new approach to generate case-specific preference data for governments in the Council of the European Union, relying on the negotiation position support relationships amongst member states recorded in the Council’s archival documents. The approach combines automated information extraction methods for the collection of negotiation position support network data with multiple correspondence analysis for the identification of the dimensionality of the underlying political space and the scaling of member states’ policy positions. The largely automated nature of the methodology allows for producing comprehensive policy position data based on contemporary sources, in a completely reproducible manner, and at largely reduced costs compared to existing approaches. A cross-validation study with preference data derived from expert surveys demonstrates that the approach is able to uncover substantively meaningful policy dimensions and estimate valid policy positions.

Paper prepared for the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, 28-31 August, Washington
Frank M. Häge
Frank M. Häge
Political Scientist

Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick. Interested in Legislative Politics, European Union Politics, and Historical Political Economy.