Agenda Formation

William H. Riker, Editor
What we know about how agendas determine outcomes


Experienced politicians and legislators have always known that by shaping the agenda they can influence decisions. In the past, experienced politicians' knowledge has been mostly anecdotal. The development of social choice theory provides a basis for a fuller and more systematic understanding of the effects of agendas on outcomes. In this book, the appreciation of the role and workings of agendas that has been developed using social choice theory is presented in a nontechnical way.

This collection of essays explores several features of agenda formation by developing ideas such as that most issues are one-dimensional, agenda items and issues are certain to change because losers have an interest in changing them, domestic concerns at least partially determine agendas and issues in international politics, and new issues and arguments can abruptly change the expectations about winning. The distinguished contributors argue that the knowledge needed to compete includes knowing what the possible agenda items or issues are, where they come from, and how to manipulate them advantageously.

Praise / Awards

  • "William Riker did more than any other to show the importance of strategy in politics and how structures, lines of debate, frames of reference, and procedural conventions can have a profound impact on political outcomes. A wide range of the top scholars in a field that Riker almost created are brought together here, illustrating the importance of his ideas. Certainly these ideas are powerful enough to keep another generation of scholars busy developing more and more convincing ways of showing their validity."
    Journal of Politics

Look Inside


Introduction by William H. Riker     1

Part I: The Specification of Issues

Spatial Realignment and the Mapping of Issues in U.S. History: The Evidence from Roll Call Voting by Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal     13

Issues, Dimensions, and Agenda Change in Postwar Democracies: Longterm Trends in Party Election Programs and Newspaper Reports in Twenty-Three Democracies by Ian Budge     41

Rhetorical Interaction in the Ratification Campaigns by William H. Riker     81

Part 2: The Origin of Issues

Domestic and International Imperatives in the Specification of Foreign Policy Objectives by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Lalman     127

On the Evolution of Political Issues by Edward G. Carmines and James A. Stimson     151

Agenda Formation and Cabinet Government by Michael Laver and Kenneth A. Shepsle     169

Agreement, Defection, and Interest-Group Influence in the U.S. Congress by Richard A. Smith     183

Part 3: The Manipulation of Issues

Agenda Setting and Beyond: Television News and the Stength of Political Issues by Shanto Iyengar     211

Free Trade in Canadian Elections: Issue Evolution in the Long and the Short Run by Richard Johnston, Andre Blais, Henry E. Brady, and Jean Crete     231

Contextualizing Regime Change: Transforming Windows and Systematic Reforms in Eastern Europe by George J. Graham, Jr.      255

Contributors     285

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 312pp.
  • tables, figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10381-2

Add to Cart
  • $88.00 U.S.