Party mandates and the politics of attention: Party platforms, public priorities and the policy agenda in Britain

Caterina Froio, Shaun Bevan, Will Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper develops an attention-based model of party mandates and policy agendas, where parties and governments are faced with an abundance of issues, and must divide their scarce attention across them. In government, parties must balance their desire to deliver on their electoral mandate (i.e. the “promissory agenda”) with a need to continuously adapt their policy priorities in response to changes in public concerns and to deal with unexpected events and the emergence of new problems (i.e. the “anticipatory agenda”). Parties elected to office also have incentives to respond to issues prioritized by the platforms of their rivals. To test this theory, time series cross-sectional models are used to investigate how the policy content of the legislative program of British government responds to governing and opposition party platforms, the executive agenda, issue priorities of the public and mass media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-703
Number of pages12
JournalParty Politics
Volume23
Issue number6
Early online date20 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords

  • party mandate
  • policy agendas
  • problem-solving
  • public opinion

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