The Online World of Politics: Analyzing the Impact of the Public During #MeToo on Public Policy Using Machine Learning

Doak Schultz head shot

Name: Doak Schultz
Major: Political Science
Minor: Art
Advisors: Megan Wrobel, Brittany Brake

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

This study explores the impact of the #MeToo movement on Twitter on proposed bills related to sexual misconduct in the United States Congress using John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework (MSF). Nine hypotheses are developed using Kingdon’s three streams to investigate the research question: How does social media impact the ability of individuals to shape public policy? While some of these hypotheses could not be tested due to limited data, analysis of 384 proposed bills from 2012 to 2017 showed proposal volume drastically increased during and after #MeToo, the legislative success of proposals was highly contextual based on political party dynamics within the United States and the impact of world events, and that new policy topics were proposed in Congress following #MeToo. These results have implications for the expansion of MSF and social movement theory, possible new avenues of content analysis using machine learning, and reassessment of relevant actor models in International Relations.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 13, 2023.

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