Dimensionality, Issue Attention, and Agenda Dynamics: The Case of Federal Urban Policy

36 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2011  

Joshua Sapotichne

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science

Samuel Workman

University of Oklahoma

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

Does the stable, low-dimensional environment that scholars detect in analyses of congressional and mass behavior structure policy debate over a particular set of issues? Through analysis of an original data set of 6,560 congressional hearings held from 1946 to 2004, we map the underlying dimensional structure of congressional attention to a range of urban policy issues including housing, development, crime, and transit. First, we employ an innovative measurement model to demonstrate that the urban agenda space is neither one dimensional, nor stable through time. Second, we show that this dimensional structure is related to changes in issue attention, leading to sweeping issue realignments in the composition of the federal urban policy agenda. These changes are consistent with the shifting partisan and structural features of American politics. In all, our findings have far-reaching implications for issue politics at the federal level and for structuring agenda setting activities of political actors, including city governments themselves.

Suggested Citation

Sapotichne, Joshua and Workman, Samuel, Dimensionality, Issue Attention, and Agenda Dynamics: The Case of Federal Urban Policy (August 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1919271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1919271

Joshua Sapotichne (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Samuel Workman

University of Oklahoma ( email )

455 E. Lindsey St.
205 Dale Hall Tower
Norman, OK Oklahoma 73019
United States
405-325-5297 (Phone)

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