The Politics of Information
Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America
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.
Part I “Seek and Ye Shall Find”
1 Search, Information, and Policy Agendas
2 Organizing for Expertise or Organizing for Complexity?
3 Information, Search, and Government
Part II Information and the Growth of Government
4 Th e Rise and Decline of Institutional Information Processing in the Executive and Legislative Branches
5 From Clarity to Complexity in Congress
6 The Search for Information and the Great New-Issue Expansion
7 The Thickening and Broadening of Government
8 Rounding Up the Usual Political Suspects
Part III The Implications of Information in Government
9 Organizing Information and the Transformation of U.S. Policy Making
10 Organizing Complexity