By Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Stefaan Walgrave
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Additional info for Agenda Setting, Policies, and Political Systems: A Comparative Approach
This is consistent with the metaphor of issue intrusion, where new issues are able to become part of the governing agenda irrespective of the partisan cycle (Jones and Baumgartner 2005). Here the dynamics of political attention also make their impact, where issues climb the scale of policy agenda beyond the control of party leaders. More ﬁne-grained analysis using variables that attend to each policy sector, perhaps using case-study methods, could show how issue attention adjusts in response to emergence of these problems.
The second is the content of the lawmaking agenda, or agenda composition, which allows us to address the classic agenda-setting question: how has the distribution of policy topics addressed in the legislative agenda changed over the period of our study? Changes in agenda composition, while more elusive, are clearly understandable within a framework of the political history and development of the United States. Our tentative conclusion is that standard quantitative counts of activities are amenable to study by techniques that aﬀect lawmaking throughout the period of study—such as the size of the Democratic majority in Congress, public mood, and conditions of uniﬁed or divided government.
The main ﬁnding of this chapter is that talking is not the same as doing: party eﬀects diﬀer in executive speeches of policy priorities compared with legislative outputs. Political parties diﬀer in their attention to a num- 34 | john, bevan, and jennings ber of traditional issue strengths in statements of executive priorities but do not exhibit such a discernible pattern of issue emphasis with respect to lawmaking. This is not entirely surprising: speeches are designed for public consumption and are intended to portray the policy agenda of the governing party in a positive light.
Agenda Setting, Policies, and Political Systems: A Comparative Approach by Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Stefaan Walgrave