Peer-Reviewed Publications (click citation to download):
Aslett, Kevin, Webb Williams, Nora, Casas, Andreu, Wilkerson, John, Zuidema, Wesley. “Framing Parkland: A Social Media Approach To Studying Issue Frames And Their Impact” (Forthcoming at Policy Studies Journal)
Agenda setting and issue framing research broadly investigates how problem framing impacts public attention, policy decisions, and political outcomes. Social media sites, such as Twitter, provide unique opportunities to study such dynamics in an increasingly important area of political discourse. We present a method for identifying frames in tweets and measuring their effectiveness using tweet interaction data. We use topic modeling combined with manual validation to identify recurrent problem frames and topics in thousands of tweets by gun rights and gun control groups following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. We find that each side used Twitter to advance competing policy narratives about the problem in Parkland. Gun rights groups’ narratives implied that more gun restrictions were not the solution. Their most effective frame focused on officials’ failures to enforce existing laws (implying that new gun regulations were unnecessary). In contrast, gun control groups most effectively portrayed easy access to guns as the problem (not mental illness), and emphasized the importance of mobilizing politically to force change. Computational methods, such as topic modeling with careful validation, offer new research opportunities for policy scholars in the increasingly important yet challenging domain of social media.
Caporaso, James, and Aslett, Kevin. “The Question of German Imbalances within the Eurozone: Competitiveness versus Savings Explanations?” International Trade, Politics, and Development. 2017, 1(1), 4-31.
This article uses trade data from Eurozone countries to test two popular explanations of trade imbalance (competitiveness and savings). We find that both explanations partially explain trade imbalances within the Eurozone and political-institutional differences between core and periphery Eurozone countries are the main culprits. We argue that although trade balances in GIIPS countries have on the whole recovered since the Euro crisis, institutional differences between core and periphery countries continue to inhibit trade re-balancing and the economic recovery in GIIPS countries.
This article, published directly after Brexit in a period of heightened euro-skepticism, attempts to answer the question: “Will the euro survive?” We answer this question in the affirmative and in doing so argue that the continuation of the Eurozone is different from the question of whether the Eurozone should have been created in the first place. We summarize the main criticisms of the Eurozone and argue there are reasons for the Eurozone’s current existence beyond its effectiveness as a currency union (economic costs, path-dependent achievements that are costly to reverse, and political benefits). This explains why the Eurozone weathered the euro crisis despite heavy criticism and why it is likely to stay intact moving forward.