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, Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones 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 analysis cast public policy too narrowly as the result of cozy and dependable arrangements among politicians, interest groups, and the media. Baumgartner and Jones 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.
Frank R. Baumgartner is the Miller-LaVigne Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. Bryan D. Jones is the J. J. Pickle Chair in Congressional Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. They are coauthors of several books, including The Politics of Attention, also published by the University of Chicago Press.