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  • Working Paper

    Concept-Guided Chain-of-Thought Prompting for Pairwise Comparison Scaling of Texts with Large Language Models

    Working Paper, October 2023

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    Existing text scaling methods often require a large corpus, struggle with short texts, or require labeled data. We develop a text scaling method that leverages the pattern recognition capabilities of generative large language models (LLMs). Specifically, we propose concept-guided chain-of-thought (CGCoT), which uses prompts designed to summarize ideas and identify target parties in texts to generate concept-specific breakdowns, in many ways similar to guidance for human coder content analysis. CGCoT effectively shifts pairwise text comparisons from a reasoning problem to a pattern recognition problem. We then pairwise compare concept-specific breakdowns using an LLM. We use the results of these pairwise comparisons to estimate a scale using the Bradley-Terry model. We use this approach to scale affective speech on Twitter. Our measures correlate more strongly with human judgments than alternative approaches like Wordfish. Besides a small set of pilot data to develop the CGCoT prompts, our measures require no additional labeled data and produce binary predictions comparable to a RoBERTa-Large model fine-tuned on thousands of human-labeled tweets. We demonstrate how combining substantive knowledge with LLMs can create state-of-the-art measures of abstract concepts.

    Date Posted

    Oct 18, 2023

  • Working Paper

    Large Language Models Can Be Used to Estimate the Latent Positions of Politicians

    Working Paper, September 2023

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    Existing approaches to estimating politicians' latent positions along specific dimensions often fail when relevant data is limited. We leverage the embedded knowledge in generative large language models (LLMs) to address this challenge and measure lawmakers' positions along specific political or policy dimensions. We prompt an instruction/dialogue-tuned LLM to pairwise compare lawmakers and then scale the resulting graph using the Bradley-Terry model. We estimate novel measures of U.S. senators' positions on liberal-conservative ideology, gun control, and abortion. Our liberal-conservative scale, used to validate LLM-driven scaling, strongly correlates with existing measures and offsets interpretive gaps, suggesting LLMs synthesize relevant data from internet and digitized media rather than memorizing existing measures. Our gun control and abortion measures -- the first of their kind -- differ from the liberal-conservative scale in face-valid ways and predict interest group ratings and legislator votes better than ideology alone. Our findings suggest LLMs hold promise for solving complex social science measurement problems.

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