ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this innovative account of the way policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda—the first detailed study of so many issues over an extended period—Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones show that rapid change not only can but does happen in the hidebound institutions of government.
Short-term, single-issue analyses of public policy, the authors contend, give a narrow and distorted view of public policy as the result of a cozy arrangement between politicians, interest groups, and the media. Baumgartner and Jones upset these notions by focusing on several issues—including civilian nuclear power, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—over a much longer period of time to reveal patterns of stability alternating with bursts of rapid, unpredictable change.
A welcome corrective to conventional political wisdom, Agendas and Instability revises our understanding of the dynamics of agenda-setting and clarifies a subject at the very center of the study of American politics.