Frank R. Baumgartner is Miller-LaVigne Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. His previous publications include: Comparative Studies of Policy Agendas (2007), The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems (with Bryan D. Jones, 2005), Policy Dynamics (with Bryan D. Jones, 2002), and Agendas and Instability in American Politics (with Bryan D. Jones, 1993), winner of the 2001 Aaron Wildavsky Award, APSA Organized Section on Public Policy. He has been published widely in journals and serves on the editorial boards of American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Journal of European Public Policy, Policy Studies Journal, and Journal of Information Technology and Politics.
Suzanna L. De Boef is Associate Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. Her research examines the dynamics of public opinion, elections, and public policy and the statistical methods used to analyze them. Her work has appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and Statistics in Medicine.
Amber E. Boydstun is a graduate student in Political Science at Penn State University. Her research explores the influence of issue-definition on media agenda control. She has been published in Mass Communication and Society.
The authors begin by explaining how the group approach to politics became dominant forty years ago in reaction to the constitutional-legal approach that preceded it. They show how it fell into decline in the 1970s as scholars ignored the impact of groups on government to focus on more quantifiable but narrower subjects, such as collective-action dilemmas and the dynamics of recruitment. As a result, despite intense research activity, we still know very little about how groups influence day-to-day governing. Baumgartner and Leech argue that scholars need to develop a more coherent set of research questions, focus on large-scale studies, and pay more attention to the context of group behavior. Their book will give new impetus and direction to a field that has been in the academic wilderness too long.
Attention is a crucial variable in understanding modern politics. Shifts in attention have dramatic consequences for both politics and policy decisions.
This volume includes case studies of nine different political systems including the US, Canada, several European systems, and the EU itself. It asks the following questions:
Which are the dynamics of agenda-setting in the EU? Which role do political parties play in attention allocation? What are the cross national differences in attention to health care? What role does science and expertise play in attention-allocation? What are the effects of political institutions?
Comparative Studies of Policy Agendas will be of interest to students and scholars of policy analysis and public policy.