Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 17: Agenda formation and change

Peter John


Research on the policy agenda offers a unique perspective on how public decisions are made and implemented, in particular highlighting the influence of the mass media and the salience of ideas and argumentation. This chapter contains a summary of agenda-setting theory in the classic works of public policy, followed by a review of the policy agendas approach as advocated by Baumgartner and Jones in the research on punctuated equilibrium. Then a more critical viewpoint is offered, which suggests that writers on agenda-setting find it hard to make causal inferences about the sources of change in public policy.

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