The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 26, 2005 - Political Science - 316 pages
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On any given day, policymakers are required to address a multitude of problems and make decisions about a variety of issues, from the economy and education to health care and defense. This has been true for years, but until now no studies have been conducted on how politicians manage the flood of information from a wide range of sources. How do they interpret and respond to such inundation? Which issues do they pay attention to and why? Bryan D. Jones and Frank R. Baumgartner answer these questions on decision-making processes and prioritization in The Politics of Attention.

Analyzing fifty years of data, Jones and Baumgartner's book is the first study of American politics based on a new information-processing perspective. The authors bring together the allocation of attention and the operation of governing institutions into a single model that traces public policies, public and media attention to them, and governmental decisions across multiple institutions. 

The Politics of Attention offers a groundbreaking approach to American politics based on the responses of policymakers to the flow of information. It asks how the system solves, or fails to solve, problems rather than looking to how individual preferences are realized through political action.
  

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Contents

How Government Processes Information and Prioritizes Problems
1
Information and Choice
29
Information Processing and Policy Punctuations
87
Signal Detection and the Inefficiencies of Agenda Setting
205
Appendixes
291
References
301
Index
309
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About the author (2005)

Bryan D. Jones is the Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics and director of the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Washington. Frank R. Baumgartner is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University. They are the authors of the award-winning Agendas and Instability in American Politics and editors of Policy Dynamics, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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