Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Comparative Policy Analysis
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Comparative Policy Analysis

Edited by B. Guy Peters and Guillaume Fontaine

Public policy research has become increasingly comparative over the past several decades, but the methodological issues involved in this research have not been discussed adequately. This Handbook provides a discussion of the fundamental methodological issues in comparative policy research, as well as descriptions and analyses of major techniques used for that research. The techniques discussed are both quantitative and qualitative, and all are embedded in the broader discussion of comparative research design.
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Chapter 6: Comparing agenda-settings: the Comparative Agendas Project

Laura Chaqués Bonafont, Christoffer Green-Pedersen and Henrik Bech Seeberg


Studies of agenda-setting have a long tradition within public policy research. In recent years, this research tradition has gained considerable momentum not least due to the establishment of the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) data set and the research based on the data. The data set is built on the foundational work by Baumgartner and Jones and their data set on the US political system. The growth of the CAP data set has generated a flourishing literature which has moved the policy agenda-setting tradition forward in several ways. From a methodological perspective, a number of tools have been developed to better analyse and work with the agenda-setting data. This has generated a much better understanding of general aspects of agenda-setting dynamics. Among the methodological innovations, the comparative aspect of the data has been the foundation of a growing body of comparative research on policy agenda-setting. Thus, agenda-setting processes around policy issues are in many ways better understood than just ten years ago. However, many aspects are also poorly understood and two are worth highlighting. One is that though policy problems are widely recognized to be crucial for agenda-setting process, their exact role is still poorly understood. Further, the link between agenda-setting and actual policy decision is an aspect which has not received much attention in this recent literature.

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