Agendas and Instability in American Politics, Second Edition

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 15, 2010 - Political Science - 368 pages

When Agendas and Instability in American Politics appeared fifteen years ago, offering a profoundly original account of how policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda, the Journal of Politics predicted that it would “become a landmark study of public policy making and American politics.” That prediction proved true and, in this long-awaited second edition, Bryan Jones and Frank Baumgartner refine their influential argument and expand it to illuminate the workings of democracies beyond the United States.

The authors retain all the substance of their contention that short-term, single-issue analyses cast public policy too narrowly as the result of cozy and dependable arrangements among politicians, interest groups, and the media. Jones and Baumgartner provide a different interpretation by taking the long view of several issues—including nuclear energy, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—to demonstrate that bursts of rapid, unpredictable policy change punctuate the patterns of stability more frequently associated with government. Featuring a new introduction and two additional chapters, this updated edition ensures that their findings will remain a touchstone of policy studies for many years to come.


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Theoretical Beginnings
Tracing Policy Change in America
Structural and Contextual Change in Politics
Agendas and Instability Fifteen Years Later
Data Sources
Regression Analysis of Agenda Dynamics

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About the author (2010)

Bryan D. Jones is the J. J. Pickle Chair in Congressional Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. Frank R. Baumgartner is Miller-LaVigne Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. They are the coauthors of several books, including The Politics of Attention, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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