Euromanifesto Study

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The Euromanifestos Study has been realized as a project at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). It aims to collect, code, and analyze manifestos issued to the elections to the European Parliament (“Euromanifestos”). The objective of analyzing election programs is to measure the issue emphasis and policy positions of parties across countries within a common framework. Election programs are taken as authoritative of the parties’ policy emphases and policy positions at a certain point in time. These election programs are subjected to quantitative content analysis. While the main approach here is based on a variant of the MRG/CMP/MAPOR expert coding strategy, care has been taken that data files are also provided which are accessible by computerized content analysis routines.

So far, the study contains Euromanifestos published in all member countries, in all EP elections between 1979 and 2014. These documents are also accessible for visual inspection as PDFs, upon request.

Euromanifesto Study 2014

Euromanifesto Study 2009

Euromanifesto Study 1979-2009

Euromanifesto Study 1979-2004

Past studies and current study

The latest release of this project is the Euromanifesto Study 1979-2009 integrated database, and the Euromanifesto 2014. The Euromanifestos Study 2009 is a module of the 2009 European Election Study. In previous project phases, we collected, coded and analyzed manifestos issued ahead of the European elections from 1979 to 2004. This was done as modules of the European Election Studies 1999 and 2004.


History of Coding Election Programs

For the original MRG/CPM project, a classification scheme was designed for the coding of the content of election programs for the post-World-War-II period in a variety of countries. A first version of the original classification scheme was developed by David Robertson (1976) with the purpose of analyzing modes of party competition in Britain. In 1979, the ‘Manifesto Research Group’ (MRG) was constituted as a research group of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) by scholars interested in a comparative content-analytic approach on policy positions of parties. During their work, the classification scheme was extended and revised to fit additional countries. Since 1989 the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) provides resources for updating and expanding the MRG data set in the context of its Comparative Manifestos Project (CMP).


The Euromanifestos Coding Scheme (EMCS)

Within the ‘Euromanifestos Study’ at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), we applied the approach of the ‘Comparative Manifestos Project’ (CMP) on elections to the European Parliament in order to collect and code all European Parliament election programs of all parties ever represented in that body. In order to preserve comparability with the CMP on the one hand and to make in-depth European-specific analyses possible, the classical CMP coding frame was modified. In which way this has been done is explained in the Euromanifestos Coding Scheme (EMCS).

Based on the classical MRG coding frame, the EMCS is more detailed wherever necessary and includes both, the national and the EU level (according to that coders decide if the governmental frame of the content is national or the EU). It includes a range of policy domains: external relations, freedom and democracy, political system, economy, welfare and quality of life, a fabric of society and social groups. The second edition of the EMCS, the EM Coding Instructions, and the Coding Sheet are compiled in the MZES Working Paper 64. For the 2004 Euromanifestos, we have updated the EMCSI to EMCS II. Al
The Euromanifestos Documentation provides all relevant information on the Euromanifesto collection, on missing Euromanifestos, on the coding, on additional variables provided by the coders, and the information on all variables included in the Euromanifesto dataset. The latter information also contains macro data for each country, party, and election, like electoral participation, vote shares, seats and parliamentary group membership. For the analytical variables that have been computed and used for analyses, the SPSS syntax is documented as well.


Quantitative Content Analysis

In order to collect and code all European Parliament election programs of all parties ever represented in that body, we applied the approach of the ‘Comparative Manifestos Project’ (CMP) on elections to the European Parliament.

The manual coding of the election programs (“Euromanifestos”) is one of the most important components of the project. Therefore, expert coders, from each country of the European Union are recruited and trained in coding conferences. The expert coders collect “relevant” Euromanifestos (relevant parties in our project are those that have been represented in the European Parliament at least once), and apply the Euromanifestos Coding Scheme for the coding of each argument of a document. After finishing the coding, the expert coders keep a tally on a coding sheet, and finally, data from this coding sheet is inserted in our Euromanifestos dataset.

Until 2005 our expert coders have been able to collect and code a majority of all Euromanifestos that have been issued for EP elections since 1979. The data had already been used for analyses and will be analyzed further.


Computerized Coding of Election Programs

The computerized coding of election programs offers an alternative approach to extracting policy positions from political texts. However, computerized coding requires a special format of the election programs.

We have already scanned all Euromanifestos issued ahead of the 1999 elections. In doing so, we have cleared all scanned EM and have stored these as .txt files for the computerized coding. Currently, we prepare the remaining Euromanifestos for computerized coding: that means clear and store them as .txt files.