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Comparing Governmental Agendas: Evolution of the Prioritization of Issues in the USA and Spain

Thursday February 14, 2008, at 14:00
Aula 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
This paper is aimed to contribute to the analysis of policy dynamics in a comparative perspective. The goal is to analyze how the Spanish and the USA political agenda changes over time and more specifically how the President chooses and prioritizes some issues from an increasingly complex and dynamic environment at a given time. To analyse the allocation of attention we focus on the annual President and Prime Minister speeches from 1982 to 2007. Following the policy agendas project methodology we have created a database and coded the information provided in these speeches as a means to develop a systematic comparative analysis. As we argue in this paper in both countries there is a transformation in the political agenda characterized by an increasing diversity (number of issues prioritized by the Prime Minister), and volatility (changes in the issues getting in and getting out of the executive’s agenda by legislature); while agenda capacity (or agenda space) remains constant or decreases across time. This paper is a work in progress in which we also test the relevance of the election of a new party coalition, leadership change, or europeization (for the Spanish case) as explanatory variables.