Has polarization increased in US politics?

A superb and much-needed paper on the topic. Apart from Jackson Hole, even Brookings conferences are much sought after.

In the recent edition, a very neat paper was presented on politics.

We are seeing rise in polarization amidst political parties world over. This paper uses Google Ngrams along with COngressional records to figure whether rising polarization in US economy is highest in these times.

We use the digitized Congressional Record and the Google N-gram corpus to quantitatively study the polarization of political discourse and the di¤usion of political language since 1873. We statistically identify highly partisan phrases from the Congressional Record, and then use these to impute partisanship and political polarization to the millions of documents in the Google Books corpus in each year.

We …find that while there has been an increase in the polarization of political discourse in the last 30 years, polarization is still low relative to the late 19th and most of the 20th century. Using a dynamic panel of phrases, we also …find that polarized phrases increase in frequency in Google Books prior to increases in usage in Congress, although only for the pre World War II period. Moreover, we …nd evi- dence that while Congress adopts polarized economic phrases after they appears in Google Books, it does not do so for polarized language on social issues. Our results suggest that polarized political discourse may anticipate polarization of language in Congress.

Hmm.. So still low in US compared to the past.

What about India? It is really difficult to do something like this because of several parties. We no more have major parties but major alliances where parties in the alliances can  play cat and mouse game depending on their wishes and opportunities. Here we have parties which oppose the economic agenda of the alliance but still join it to keep the rival alliance at


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