FrameASt: A Framework for Second-level Agenda Setting in Parliamentary Debates through the Lense of Comparative Agenda Topics

This paper presents a framework for studying second-level political agenda setting in parliamentary debates, based on the selection of policy topics used by political actors to discuss a specific issue on the parliamentary agenda. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic as an agenda item can be contextualised as a health issue or as a civil rights issue, as a matter of macroeconomics or can be discussed in the context of social welfare. Our framework allows us to observe differences regarding how different parties discuss the same agenda item by emphasizing different topical aspects of the item. We apply and evaluate our framework on data from the German Bundestag and discuss the merits and limitations of our approach. In addition, we present a new annotated data set of parliamentary debates, following the coding schema of policy topics developed in the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP), and release models for topic classification in parliamentary debates.

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