Subproject 5
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Dynamic agenda representation and interest groups in the US (Bevan, Rasmussen)

The aim of this subproject is to examine how the structure of active interest group populations affects dynamic agenda representation, i.e., the process through which the public’s issue priorities are translated into policy priorities. We conduct a time-series analysis of political attention towards 19 policy areas at the US federal level in the period 1971-2001 covering all issues with which the government deals (see www.policyagendas.org). In order to do so, we link data on public priorities, political attention, and the structure of active interest group populations within these areas coded within a single coding scheme. Using data from the US Encyclopedia of Associations, we consider whether the structure of group populations in a policy area has both a direct effect on the degree of attention to the policy area and an indirect effect on the possible link between public priorities and attention in the area.  Moreover, we consider variation in attention across different stages of the policy process, powers of government, and policy-making instruments.

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