The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems
University of Chicago Press, Oct 26, 2005 - Political Science - 316 pages
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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agenda setting agenda space American political attention allocation attributes bounded rationality budget authority budgetary Category Midpoint Central Limit Theorem chapter characterized choice cognitive architecture cognitive costs commitments complex Congress congressional Congressional Quarterly correlations coverage crime debate decision costs decision makers decision-making defense dimension disproportionate information-processing dynamics economic effects elections Enron environment exponential exponential distribution figure focus focused frequency distribution governmental gridlock Herbert Simon ideology implicit index important indicators information processing input institutional costs institutional friction issue intrusion Jones kurtosis lawmaking legislative leptokurtic normal distribution number of hearings occur organizations Paretian percent percentage change period Policy Agendas Project policy change policy process policymaking political system priorities problem programs proportionate public agenda public policy punctuated equilibrium punctuations reform response result Senate shift signals simply simulation social solutions stage status quo status quo bias statutes stochastic process subfunctions subsystems tails theory threshold tion transformation variables weighted welfare