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Frank R Baumgartner; Bryan D Jones

Frank R Baumgartner; Bryan D Jones The Politics of Information : Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America (Paperback)

Frank R Baumgartner; Bryan D Jones The Politics of Information : Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America (Paperback)

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Information is central to government. Control the flow of information, and you can control the growth of government. So argue Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones in their latest book on the American policymakng process. They show how the growth and spread of governmentand its contractionsare closely related to how it searches for information, its definition of problems, and its organizational capacity to analyze that information. Just like individuals, government institutions, especially Congress, are subject to the paradox of search. If we don t seek, we won t find problems that ought to be addressed. But, if we do look for problems, we almost certainly will find them. And with each discovery of the nature of a social problem comes the possibility of creating a government program to help alleviate it. To make their case, the authors rely on massive empirical datasets that trace the course of US public policy since World War II. Connecting the nature of the search process to policy outcomes, they tellingly show how government policy is intimately tied to the search process in a manner consistent with the paradox. Better search processes, defined as those that incorporate more diverse viewpoints, lead to more intensive government policymaking. Similarly, limiting the search process is associated with declines in policymaking activity. At the same time, they find little evidence that that the factors usually thought responsible for government expansionpartisan control of government, changes in presidential leadership, or shifts in public opinionare systematically related to the trends they observe." How does the government decide what's a problem and what isn't? And what are the consequences of that process? Like individuals, Congress is subject to the "paradox of search." If policy makers don't look for problems, they won't find those that need to be addressed. But if they carry out a thorough search, they will almost certainly find new problems--and with the definition of each new problem comes the possibility of creating a government program to address it.

With The Politics of Attention, leading policy scholars Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones demonstrated the central role attention plays in how governments prioritize problems. Now, with The Politics of Information, they turn the focus to the problem-detection process itself, showing how the growth or contraction of government is closely related to how it searches for information and how, as an organization, it analyzes its findings. Better search processes that incorporate more diverse viewpoints lead to more intensive policymaking activity. Similarly, limiting search processes leads to declines in policy making. At the same time, the authors find little evidence that the factors usually thought to be responsible for government expansion--partisan control, changes in presidential leadership, and shifts in public opinion--can be systematically related to the patterns they observe.

Drawing on data tracing the course of American public policy since World War II, Baumgartner and Jones once again deepen our understanding of the dynamics of American policy making. • Author: Frank R Baumgartner • ISBN:9780226198125 • Format:Paperback • Publication Date:2015-01-02





University of Chicago Press

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Original Languages


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Frank R Baumgartner, Bryan D Jones


The Politics of Information



Publication Date

January, 2015

Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)

8.90 x 5.90 x 0.70 Inches



SKU: WA38657311

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