Liberals Lecture, Conservatives Communicate: analyzing complexity and ideology in 381,609 speeches
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Description: There is some evidence that liberal politicians use more complex language than conservative politicians. This evidence, however, is based on a specific set of speeches of US Congress members and UK members of Parliament. This raises the question whether the relationship between ideology and linguistic complexity is a more general phenomenon or specific to this small group of politicians. To address this question, this paper analyzes 381,609 speeches from five parliaments, from twelve European prime ministers, and from party congresses across time and across countries. Our results replicate and generalize these earlier findings: speakers from culturally liberal parties use more complex language than speakers from culturally conservative parties. Economic left-right differences, on the other hand, are not systematically linked to linguistic complexity.