Bipartisanship and Idea Brokerage in Education Policy Networks
30 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 21, 2016
We show how Democrats and Republicans converged to support similar policies on a major educational issue: teacher effectiveness. Our study demonstrates the importance of idea brokers — actors that bridge structural gaps between members of different parties and promote shared policy ideas. Our study is based on analysis of testimony from 197 congressional hearings from 2000 to 2014. We use Discourse Network Analysis to examine network ties based on shared policy preferences expressed in hearings, which can be used to create networks linking policy actors and stated policy preferences. We use this network data to examine changes in the education policy subsystem during a policy window between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. We identify idea brokers based on network attributes, including: 1) actors that contributed to the policy debate, and 2) actors that bridged structural gaps between Democrats and Republicans. We then estimate QAP regression models to examine whether ties to idea brokers are associated with future policy preferences among political actors.
Keywords: policy networks, education policy, brokers
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