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Agenda Setting Models

4 Models of Setting Agenda
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Abelardo Leon

on 27 March 2013

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Transcript of Agenda Setting Models

AGENDA SETTING MODELS John Kingdon / Agendas, Alternatives, and public Policies. 1984 abelardo león

TEORY OF PUBLIC POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION/STEPHANIE PATERSON How is governmental agenda sets? Which Conditions Become a Problem?
1. Magnitude to Catch official's attention
2. A focussing event (Disaster, crisis, powerful symbol)
3. Existing programs, either formal or informal

CONDITION/PROBLEMS: every day - creates values - clarifies and defines problem.

PROBLEM IS A COGNITIVE PROCESS OUTPUT POLITICS
Political events flows along according to their own dinamics and their own rules.
They are perceived by participants in a swing between national mood, elections, ideological distribution of Congress, interest groups of powers.
The combination of national mood and elections is a more potent agenda setter than organized interest. VISIBLE PARTICIPANTS DISTINCTION BETWEEN VISIBLE AND HIDDEN PARTICIPANTS

The president / members of Congress / the media / elections-related / political parties. [Relatively hidden] Academic specialist, carrer bureaucrats and congressional staffers. THE PROBLEM window of oportunity!!! An open policy window is an oportunity for advocates to push their pet solutions or to push attention to their spetial problems.

Windows are opened by events in either the problems or political streams. Thus there are problems windows and political windows. A new problem appears, for instance, creating an opportunity to attach a solution to it.

Sometimes, windows open quite predictably. Legislation comes up for renewal on a schedule, for instance, creating opportunities to change, expand, or abolish certain programs. At other times, windows open quite unpredictably, as when an airliner crashes or fluky alection produces an unexpected turnover in hey decision maker.

Predictable or unpredictable, open windows are small and scarce. opportunities come, but also pass.

Kingdon, J. (2003). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. (pp.203-204) 1. The pre-problem stage. Here the problem exists, but commands little public attention. 2. Alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm. The public suddenly becomes aware of the problem and demands emphatically that it be solved. 3. Realizing cost of significant progress. The realization sets in that solving the problem would be very costly and require sacrifice from large parts of the population. 4. Gradual decline of intense public interest. Interest wanes in the problem. Other problems find their way to the "alarmed discovery" stage and the old one is displaced.
5. The post-problem stage. The issue moves into a "twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest." Institutions or policies created in the "discovery" stage may persist however, and continue to work toward the solution to the problem. Basically, we have observed 4 ways of discussions in this class. The Issue Attention Cycle with Downs (Public Choice Theory); The Agenda Building Perspective with Cobb; Ross & Ross; Multiple Streams Framework with Kingdon; and Punctuated Equilibrium Framework with Jones and Baumgartner.

I agree with Paul Sabatier (Theories of the Policy Process. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999) when he defines a theory as a “logically related set of propositions that seeks to explain a fairly general set of phenomena.” Consequently, theories look for generating new research hypotheses as well, using systematization of knowledge, explanation, and prediction. In this sense, Firstly, I can divide the literature provided in two groups of perspectives “The Issue Attention Cycle” and“The Agenda Building Perspective”,and more complexities approaches that reach the status of theories: “Multiple Streams Framework” and “Punctuated Equilibrium Framework”. This does not devalue the first two approaches, because they were the foundations for studies in Agenda Setting process.

Secondly, in the specific case of "Punctuated Equilibrium Theory", I think that taking ideas generated in the natural sciences and moving them to social sciences is not always a good idea. To ensure that we do not fall down into a metaphoric use of the original theory, it requires work processing and not just automatic adjustment. In this sense metaphors serve to create "imaginative leaps", but not to build concepts. From my point of view, an empirical homologation using a non-empirical analogy devalues the term to a pre-scientific range. In others words, when Baumgartner and Jones appropriated the term “Punctuated Equilibrium”, they put away the concept from the operational definition, converting it into a metaphor. Thirdly, All of these approaches come from a singular focus of U.S. scholars. They were spreaded and adopted by other countries. However, I share the concern of Sally Kenney when she argues that these perspectives do not examining “the role of international organizations in agenda setting and diffusion” (2003:194).

Finally.Despite my criticism, I think we should not reject these approaches entirely, because they provide us the base to any work or study in agenda setting process. For example, I highlight the use if media as a tool to put relevant issues into the center of public attention. In the same way I think that these theories provides an interesting analysis tool for the creation of future knowledge, and the exploration of new areas, providing a more precise understanding of the various dynamics in agenda setting. 1. How does gender fit into these models?

2. What can we say about windows of opportunity in the case of the discussion in the video observed.

3.What do you think (according to Downs) would be the best of these stages to set a problem as an issue into public agenda?

4.There are points of coincidence between this theory and the "Punctuated Equilibrium Theory in Jones and Baumgartner? Which ones?

5.What is the role that Anthony Downs' theory gives to the emotional aspect of a public issue?

6.If the emotional aspect is important in this theory, what is the link with Rational Choise

7.According to the authors: “The “Outside Initiative” model of agenda building is likely to predominate in more egalitarian societies. However, does not necessarily mean that the final decisions of the authorities or the actual policy implementation will be what the grievance group originally sought.” (p. 132). On the other hand, according to the authors, “The Mobilization Model” is most likely to appear frequently in more hierarchical societies and in those where supernatural powers attributed to the leader emphasize the distance between him or her and the followers.” (p.135) QUESTION: Are you agree with these conclusions?

8.“Stasis”, “Primeval Soup”, “Punctuated Equilibrium Theory”. All of them are concepts borrowed by Public Policy from Biology. In a Heuristic point of view: Does these concepts reflect an effort of Public Policy to legitimize itself using an oldest discipline?

9.In his conclusions Zajariadis says: “MS offers a fruitful way to explain how political systems and organizations make sense of an ambiguous world”. In this sense, what Punctuated Equilibrium Theory provides to explain the origin of an “idea”?

10.Do Zahariadis and Jones and Baumgartner provide a good theory to comparing the same issue, across states, across state models, across countries? The generation of policy alternatives is best seen as a selection process, analogous to biological natural selection. In what we have called the policy primeval soup, many ideas float around, bumping into one another, encountering new ideas, and forming combinations ad recombinations. The origins of policy may seen a bit obscure, hard to predict and hard to understand or to structure. Kingdon, J. (2003). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies.  Downs, A. 1972. Up and Down with Ecology – The “Issue Attention Cycle”. Public Interest 28: 38-50.

 Cobb, Ross and Ross. 1976. Agenda Building as a Comparative Political Process. American Political Science Review 70 (1): 126-138.

 Kingdon, John W. 2003. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. Second edition ed. New York: Longman. Read chapter 9.

 Zahariadis, N. (2007). The Multiple Streams Framework. In. Theories of the Policy Process. Colorado: Westier Press.

 Kenney, S. 2003. Where is Gender in Agenda Setting? Women & Politics 25(1/2): 179-207.

 Jones and Baumgartner. (2007). The Multiple Streams Framework. In: Punctuated- Equilibrium Theory. Theories of the Policy Process. Colorado: Westier Press.

Baumgartner, F.R., & Jones, B.D. (2009). Agendas and instability in American politics. (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

True, J. L., Jones, B. D., & Baumgartner, F. R. (2007). Punctuated-equilibrium theory: Explaining stability and change in public policymaking. Sabatier, P.A. (Ed.), Theories of the policy process. (2nd ed.) (pp. 155-187). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. References conclusions "Models of Agenda Building"
Cobb, Ross and Ross. 1976
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