Political Networks Challenge


Political Networks PoliInformatics Research Challenge: The Who and What of the 2007-08 Financial Crisis

The PoliInformatics Research Coordination Network (PInet) is funded by NSF to build community and capacity for data-intensive research using open government data. In the first stage of this initiative, we are holding research challenges at discipline-specific conferences that are intended to serve as feeders to future interdisciplinary collaborations.

We invite paper proposals examining the 2007-08 financial crisis from a network analytic perspective, to be presented at the 7th annual Political Networks Conference, McGill University May 28-31, 2014.  **The official deadline for submissions is Feb. 1.**

Submissions to the Political Networks challenge will be judged, with the winners invited to present their work at an interdisciplinary workshop to be held in Autumn 2014. A stipend to support travel and accommodations will be provided.

How to Submit to the Political Networks Conference. Follow the normal submission process, but include “PoliInformatics Research Challenge” in the title of your proposal. For example, “PoliInformatics Research Challenge: What did the Fed know and when did they know it?”


We suggest the following general research questions, but  also encourage proposals for data-driven papers examining other aspects of the financial crisis:

Who is the financial crisis? Who was involved in the inquiries, lawmaking and regulatory processes that constituted the government’s response to the crisis? The individuals and organizations invited to offer explanations for the crisis? The politicians, bureaucrats, witnesses, lobbyists actively involved in developing policy responses? The agencies and organizations responsible for implementing the policy responses? The actors and entities participating in the rulemaking process? — and the connections among them.

What is the financial crisis?  When did concerns about the crisis first emerge? How did different actors and entities respond? What explanations for the financial crisis were offered, by whom, and to what effect? What reforms were proposed, by whom, and with what effect?


Data related to the Financial Crisis

The following comprise the official data sources that will be made available as parsed text documents to challenge participants. In addition, we offer access to Python scripts used to generate challenge data.

  • Federal Reserve
    • Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) 
    • Semi-annual Monetary Policy hearings and testimony  before Congress (H&S, 2005-2010) DATA                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) 2010-2011:  an independent commission created by Congress to investigate the causes of the crisis (see below for more FCIC resources)
  • Major Legislation DATA
      • Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP)
      • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2011)
      • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus package) 
      • Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 
      • Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley)Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (Gramm-Leach-Bliley) 
  • Complete Bills of the 110th and 111th Congresses (every version of every bill, parsed by section related to additional information).   DATA
  • Hearings leading to TARP and Dodd-Frank legislation
    • Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) (parsed by speaker) (12 hearings before House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees)  DATA
    • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (parsed by speaker) (62 hearings before House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees)  DATA
    • Other selected committee hearings related to financial regulatory reform (17 hearings, parsed by speaker)
      • House Agriculture  DATA
      • House Energy and Commerce  DATA
      • Senate Agriculture DATA
      • Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs DATA
  • Economic Data (stocks, bonds, CPI, Housing index etc)  DATA


Other Resources

These additional sources are not part of the official collection.  We ask that any data you collect for the purpose of this challenge be shared.

After Reform

Other possible data options

  • Media coverage of the financial crisis
  • Macroeconomic data during the crisis
  • Congressional floor debates
  • Legislator voting positions
  • Congressional press releases
  • Campaign contributions
  • Lobbying activity
  • Other committee hearings
  • Prior financial regulation legislation and laws
  • Election outcomes data
  • Population data (e.g., income, employment, health)
  • Policy reforms adopted outside the U.S. in response to the financial crisis

 for more information, contact pollinformatics@gmail.com

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