After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing Events / Edition 1

After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing Events / Edition 1

by Thomas A. Birkland
     
 

Disasters like earthquakes are known as focusing events -- sudden calamities that cause both citizens and policymakers to pay more attention to a public problem and often to press for solutions. This book, the first comprehensive analysis of these dramatic events, explains how and why some public disasters change political agendas and, ultimately, public

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Overview

Disasters like earthquakes are known as focusing events -- sudden calamities that cause both citizens and policymakers to pay more attention to a public problem and often to press for solutions. This book, the first comprehensive analysis of these dramatic events, explains how and why some public disasters change political agendas and, ultimately, public policies.

Thomas A. Birkland explores important successes and failures in the policy process by analyzing the political outcomes of four types of events: earthquakes, hurricanes, oil spills, and nuclear accidents. Using this empirical data to go beyond an intuitive understanding of focusing events, he presents a theory of where and when these events will gain attention and how they trigger political reactions. Birkland concludes that different types of disasters result in different kinds of agenda politics. Public outrage over the highly visible damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, for example, ended a fourteen-year logjam holding back Congressional legislation to regulate oil spill cleanups. On the other hand, the intangible effects of Three Mile Island had less concrete results in a political arena that was already highly polarized.

Integrating a variety of theories on the policy process, including agenda setting, policy communities, advocacy coalitions, the political aspects of the news media, and the use of symbols in political debate, Birkland illuminates the dynamics of event-driven policy activity. As the first extensive study of its kind, this book offers new insights into the policy process.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780878406531
Publisher:
Georgetown University Press
Publication date:
10/01/1997
Series:
American Governance and Public Policy Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,293,612
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)

Table of Contents

List of Selected Abbreviations
Preface
1Focusing Events, Agenda Setting, and the Policy Process1
2A Theory of Focusing Events and Agenda Change21
3Natural Disasters as Focusing Events47
4Oil Spills as Focusing Events74
5Nuclear Power Plant Accidents as Focusing Events106
6The Importance of Focusing Events in Policy Making131
Appendix: Comments on the Method151
Notes159
References163
Index171

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