cover of book

Agendas and Instability in American Politics, Second Edition
by Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones
University of Chicago Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-0-226-03953-4 | Cloth: 978-0-226-03947-3 | Paper: 978-0-226-03949-7
Library of Congress Classification JK468.P64B38 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.60973


When Agendas and Instability in American Politics appeared fifteen years ago, offering a profoundly original account of how policy issues rise and fall on the national agenda, the Journal of Politics predicted that it would “become a landmark study of public policy making and American politics.” That prediction proved true and, in this long-awaited second edition, Bryan Jones and Frank Baumgartner refine their influential argument and expand it to illuminate the workings of democracies beyond the United States.

The authors retain all the substance of their contention that short-term, single-issue analyses cast public policy too narrowly as the result of cozy and dependable arrangements among politicians, interest groups, and the media. Jones and Baumgartner provide a different interpretation by taking the long view of several issues—including nuclear energy, urban affairs, smoking, and auto safety—to demonstrate that bursts of rapid, unpredictable policy change punctuate the patterns of stability more frequently associated with government. Featuring a new introduction and two additional chapters, this updated edition ensures that their findings will remain a touchstone of policy studies for many years to come.

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