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1 September 2017 Nonverbal contention and contempt in U.K. parliamentary oversight hearings on fiscal and monetary policy
Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey
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Abstract

In parliamentary committee oversight hearings on fiscal policy, monetary policy, and financial stability, where verbal deliberation is the focus, nonverbal communication may be crucial in the acceptance or rejection of arguments proffered by policymakers. Systematic qualitative coding of these hearings in the 2010–15 U.K. Parliament finds the following: (1) facial expressions, particularly in the form of anger and contempt, are more prevalent in fiscal policy hearings, where backbench parliamentarians hold frontbench parliamentarians to account, than in monetary policy or financial stability hearings, where the witnesses being held to account are unelected policy experts; (2) comparing committees across chambers, hearings in the House of Lords committee yield more reassuring facial expressions relative to hearings in the House of Commons committee, suggesting a more relaxed and less adversarial context in the former; and (3) central bank witnesses appearing before both the Lords and Commons committees tend toward expressions of appeasement, suggesting a willingness to defer to Parliament.

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey "Nonverbal contention and contempt in U.K. parliamentary oversight hearings on fiscal and monetary policy," Politics and the Life Sciences 36(1), 27-46, (1 September 2017). https://doi.org/10.1017/pls.2017.7
Published: 1 September 2017
JOURNAL ARTICLE
20 PAGES

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KEYWORDS
deliberation
economic policy
Nonverbal communication
oversight
parliamentary committees
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