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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.
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