Cross-national partisan effects on agenda stability

Bevan, Shaun and Greene, Zachary (2017) Cross-national partisan effects on agenda stability. Journal of European Public Policy. ISSN 1350-1763 (

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Studies of policy attention find only mixed support for a partisan impact, instead showing that policy attention reacts more to world events. Yet, a rigorous examination of the ways in which change in the partisan composition of government matters for the distribution of policies across issues has yet to be completed in a cross-national framework. Combining data on policy output from the Comparative Agendas Project, we present a detailed investigation of parties’ effect on agenda stability in six advanced industrial democracies over time. We consider parties as dynamic organizations by arguing that parties’ organizational characteristics and goals interact with their electoral context to determine their impact on policy attention. The results show that parties’ influence on the policy agenda depends on economic conditions, the type of government, the government’s seat share, and the number of parties in the governing cabinet, particularly following a major transition in government.