Textbook Notes (363,082)
Canada (158,181)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - Agenda Setting.docx

4 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Health Sciences
Health Sciences 3400A/B
Sharon Regan

HS 3400A Agenda Settings - The process by which gov’t decide which issues need their attention - Governments often fail to respond to public issues to the satisfaction of their citizens for 2 reasons (both of which originate from agenda settings): 1. Many critical public problems fail to reach official policy agendas, while many relatively minor concerns do 2. Poor framing of public problems leads to preoccupation with ineffective and/or wasteful solutions that preclude consideration of alternative solutions with the potential to resolve the issue - Public managers tackle these and other defects in agenda settings – leading to improved policy processes and outcomes o Their potential remains untapped because of the perception that their responsibility is with admin/organizational tasks The Basics of Agenda Setting What is agenda setting? - An agenda is a list of issues or problems which governmental officials and others in the policy community are paying some serious attention at any given time - It’s about recognizing the problem is public - Concerned with initial processes of issue identification and policy initiation and with the manner the processes affect policy-making activities - Agenda items differ between the economic and social circumstances - Sometimes defined as the process by which demands of various groups are translated into items that the government will consider for action - Empirical evidence shows that policy problems have been raised by the governments rather than social groups - Characteristic features of agenda setting: o Nonlinear o Political as well as technical o Takes place within a complex network of state and societal actors - Public managers need to understand these 3 features as well as: o The material interests of both social and state actors in relation to any particular issue o Institutional ideological contexts in which they operate o Potential for change in the contingent circumstances that shape discussion and debates on public issues Main actors in agenda setting - Includes state and societal actors operating at subnational/national/international levels - Many are state actors including elected officials(legislators, exec members) or appointed admin (bureaucrats/ judiciary) - Each has legal authority to bring items to the attention of the gov’t for further action - The range of societal actors is sometimes limitless – activists, voters - But it is more common for agenda items to emerge from organized “collective” actors – labor union, companies etc - Among interest groups, business is generally the most powerful bc of its direct control over investments, and indirectly over jobs and economic prosperity - Labor has a powerful position in countries with high unionization rates - The public usually have an inconsequential role in public policy process – they have representatives who are entrusted with the task of governing o These people are elected through votes and then take public opinion into account o These parties have platforms and put innovative strategies forward to win elections - Other societal actors are researchers working at universities, research institutes and think tanks o They maintain an interest in a broad range of policy problems, and use their intelligence to develop a perspective on the issues facing the gov’t o Think tanks seek to find evidence to support the issue, while the others have broader interests and don’t necessarily seek to find practical solutions to policy problems - Media also brings issues to the public and gov’t agendas o Helps shape public opinion on these concerns o Does not directly control agenda, but often forces issues onto it o Media itself suffers from a lack of access to info, poor reporting, and other hosts that limit their ability to set gov’t agenda - International actors – individual advisors/ consultants to national gov’t or donor organizations/ members of international organizations – with the authority to regulate their members’ behaviour o Find it easier to intervene in public sectors o Many international organizations (IMF, World Bank, United Nations) – are repositories of immense expertise in policy issues – national gov’t often rely on them when making policies o Their financial resources are another source of influence Initiation of agenda setting - Inside initiation o Gov’t controls almost every aspect of problem definition and issue articulation o Gov’t officials can place an issue onto the formal agenda even in the absence of publically recognizable grievance o Public may be unaware of the policy and debate until its formal announcement - Outside initiation o Issues appear on the agenda as a result of ‘pressure’ from individuals, groups, and organizations outside the gov’t o Outside actors have more difficulty seizing control through campaigns (letter writing, picketing, etc) o Informal agenda and then formal agenda - Government activities and specific public works projects have effects of the kinds of issues that are defined as problems and provide the loop of feedback between gov’t action and public problem perception and definition - Policy communities often bridge the formal and informal agendas - The ‘image’ – how it is named, claimed, blamed, and framed by different policy actors – influences how it is articulated, deliberated, and resolved - When the ethical, social, or political aspects of the problem assume the center stage, a much broader range of participants might be involved Framing and agenda setting - Many ways to frame a policy – but the way the problem is defined and (re)framed dictates how they are treated in the policy activities - Eg. if low school enrollment rate for females is classified as an education problem, the gov’t may not pay much attention to it – but if it is classified as a developmental problem affecting the population health/housing/labour, then it will receive higher priority - Public managers can encourage framing of prioritization and resolution - State and non-state actors attempt to construct “policy monopolies” that control the definition and image of a problem - Loss of agenda control occurs when contextual scans are poor or not performed – in this case other societal actors can rally for support to take over - A sudden crisis may break down existing image monopoly Policy windows and agenda setting - Timing is critical in agenda setting - “policy window” or “opportunity opening” – the process is sometimes governed by fact that problems can be places at the forefront under certain circumstances - 4 types of policy windows 1. Routinized windows: routinized procedural events such as budget cycles dictate window openings 2. Discretionary windows: individual political behaviour on the part of decision-makers dictates window opening 3. Random windows: unforeseen events, such as disasters or scandals, open windows 4. Spill-over windows: related issues are drawn into already opened windows in other sectors or issue areas - Public managers must have capacity to identify and act under specific circumstances present or likely to present in their area - Most windows open pre
More Less

Related notes for Health Sciences 3400A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.