POLI 421
Framing Public Policies
M, W, 3:35-4:50pm, Davie Hall, Room 301
Spring 2023

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 962-0414
Web site: http://fbaum.unc.edu/
Office hours: M, W 2-3 and by appointment

Click here for the syllabus. Note this has all the details about grading. Read carefully!

Watch this space for announcements and resources.

Readings are below

Weekly Schedule

Part I: Theories and Concepts

Week 1, Jan 9, 11: Introduction

Monday: Introduction, no readings

Wednesday: Chong, Dennis, and James N. Druckman. 2007. Framing Theory. Annual Review of Political Science 10, 1: 103–26.
Robertson, Derek. 2018. How an Obscure Conservative Theory Became the Trump Era’s Go-to Nerd Phrase. Politico.com. slides

February 25. Week 2, Jan 16, 18: Causal theories and target populations

Monday: No class, happy MLK, Jr. Day!

Wednesday: Stone, Deborah A. 1989. Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas. Political Science Quarterly 104, 2: 281–300.
Schneider, Anne, and Helen Ingram. 1993. Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy. American Political Science Review 87, 2: 334–47. slides

Week 3, Jan 23, 25: Misunderstanding risk; the equivalence between gains and losses; asymmetries between bad v. good news.

Monday: Slovic, Paul. 1987. Perception of Risk. Science 236 (4799): 280-85.
Quattrone, George A., and Amos Tversky. 1988. Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice. American Political Science Review 82, 3: 719–736. slides

Wednesday: Baumeister, Roy F., Ellen Bratslavsky, Catrin Finkenauer, and Kathleen D. Vohs. 2001. Bad Is Stronger Than Good. Review of General Psychology 5: 323-370. slides

Week 4, Jan 30, Feb 1 Anger, fear, and public policy; episodes and themes (stories v. data).

Monday: Lerner, J.S., and D. Keltner. 2001. Fear, anger, and risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81, 1: 146–49.
Aizenman, Nurith. 2019. How to Demand a Medical Breakthrough: Lessons from the AIDS Fight. NPR.org. February 9. slides

Wednesday: Aaroe, Lene. 2011. Investigating Frame Strength: The Case of Episodic and Thematic Frames. Political Communication 28: 207–26. slides

Week 5, Feb 6, 8: Motivated reasoning, or refusing to change your mind when you don’t like the new evidence

Monday: Lord, Charles G., Lee Ross, and Mark R. Lepper. 1979. Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization: The Effects of Prior Theories on Subsequently Considered Evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, 11: 2098-2109.
Kunda, Ziva. 1990. The Case for Motivated Reasoning. Psychological Bulletin 108, 3: 480-98. slides

Wednesday: Study day, Baumgartner out of town

***Note: Statement of research project due in class Mon Feb 6. Also list of group members, if applicable.***

Week 6, Feb 13, 15: The rapidity of policy change, and an example: Poverty.

Monday No class, happy Wellness Day!

Wednesday: Baumgartner, Frank R. and Bryan D. Jones. 1991. Agenda Dynamics and Policy Subsystems. Journal of Politics 53, 4 (November): 1044–74.
Rose, Max, and Frank R. Baumgartner. 2013. Framing the Poor: Media Coverage and US Poverty Policy, 1960–2008. Policy Studies Journal 41, 1: 22–53. slides

Week 7, Feb 20, 22: Social Identity Theory and its implications for in-group solidarity; state responses to Covid, and the health consequences of politics.

Monday: Tajfel, Henri. 1970. Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination. Scientific American 223, 5: 96–102.
Branscombe, Nyla. R., Michael T. Schmitt, and Richard D. Harvey. 1999. Perceiving pervasive discrimination among African Americans: Implications for group identification and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1: 135–149. slides

Wednesday: Johnson, Akilah. 2022. Can politics kill you? Research says the answer increasingly is yes. Washington Post. December 16.
Krieger, Nancy, Christian Testa, Jarvis T. Chen, William P. Hanage, and Alecia J. McGregor. 2022. Relationship of political ideology of US federal and state elected officials and key COVID pandemic outcomes following vaccine rollout to adults: April 2021–March 2022. The Lancet Regional Health - Americas 16 (December): 100384
Montez, Jennifer Karas, Nader Mehri, Shannon M. Monnat, Jason Beckfield, Derek Chapman, Jacob M. Grumbach, Mark D. Hayward, Steven H. Woolf, and Anna Zajacova. 2022. U.S. state policy contexts and mortality of working-age adults. PLoS-ONE. slides

Week 8, Feb 27, Mar 1: The “story lines” of race; asset v. deficit framing

Monday: Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, Amanda Lewis, and David G. Embrick. 2004. I Did Not Get That Job Because of a Black Man...: The Story Lines and Testimonies of Color-Blind Racism. Sociological Forum 19, 4 (December): 555-81. slides

Wednesday: Zinnen, Shiori. 2021. From deficit-framing to asset-framing: the power of narrative in working toward equity. June 30.
Tippett, Krista. 2022. On Being with Krista Tippett, Trabian Shorters: A Cognitive Skill to Magnify Humanity. (50 minute podcast) slides

***Note: Draft of the background and theory section due in class Wed Mar 1. This should include the historical background and major citations to previous studies of your topic.***

Part II: Applications to Current Issues of Public Policy

Week 9, Mar 6, 8: “Crack babies” – a thing that never happened. “Pain as the fifth vital sign” and the Oxycodone explosion, a thing that really did come to pass!

Monday: Kolata, Gina. 1990. Bias Seen Against Pregnant Addicts. New York Times. July 20.
Sexton, Joe. 1996. Officials Seek Wider Powers to Seize Children in Drug Homes. New York Times. March 12.
Day, Nancy L., and Gale A Richardson. 1993. Cocaine Use and Crack Babies: Science, the Media, and Miscommunication. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 15: 293-294.
Zuckerman, Barry, Deborah A. Frank. 1992. Crack Kids: Not Broken. Pediatrics 337-339.
Mayes, Linda C., Richard H. Granger, Marc H. Bornstein, and Barry Zuckerman. 1992. The Problem of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure: A Rush to Judgment. Journal of the American Medical Association 256, 3: 406–408.

Wednesday: Campbell, James N. 1996. APS 1995 Presidential Address. Pain Forum 5: 85–88.
Morone, Natalia E., and Debra K. Weiner. 2013. Pain as the Fifth Vital Sign: Exposing the Vital Need for Pain Education. Clinical Therapeutics 35, 11: 1728–1732.
Watch DopeSick on Hulu (optional). Also see this description of it from NPR.

Spring Break, week of March 11

Week 10, Mar 20, 22: We hate land mines, why not war robots? Killer robots for the police? Is male circumcision a human rights abuse? Says who?

Monday: Carpenter, R. Charli. 2011. Vetting the Advocacy Agenda: Networks, Centrality and the Paradox of Weapons Norms. International Organization 65, 1: 69–102.
Duret, Daphne. 2022. What San Francisco’s Killer Robots Debate Tells Us About Policing. The Marshall Project. 10 December.

Wednesday: Carpenter, Charli. 2014. “Lost” Causes: Agenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, Ch. 6, “His Body, His Choice”, pp. 122–147.

Week 11, Mar 27, 29: The invention of the “super-predator” and “moral panic”

Monday: DiIulio, John J., Jr. 1995. The Coming of the Super-Predators. The Weekly Standard. November 27.
The Superpredator Scare. New York Times Retro Report. April 8, 2014.

Wednesday: Welch, Michael, Eric A. Price, and Nana Yankey. 2002. Moral panic over youth violence: Wilding and the Manufacture of Menace in the Media. Youth and Society 34, 1: 3-30.

***Note: Draft of the data description section due in class Wed Mar 29. These are your main statistical results, based on your set of keywords. At a minimum, you need to have debugged and verified your set of keywords to find news stories on your topic and the different frames used. At a maximum, you may have already a draft of your results. More is better, but the key is to have the keywords defined and verified.***

Part III: Brainstorming and Framing Issues of Public Policy. (Be Ready to Discuss!)

Week 12, Apr 3, 5: Legal protections for unattractive people (“lookism”)? Why are some forms of discrimination illegal but others are not?

Monday: Warhurst, Chris, Diane van den Broek, Richard Hall, and Dennis Nickson. 2009. Lookism: The New Frontier of Employment Discrimination? Journal of Industrial Relations 51, 1: 131–136.
Maxfield, Charles M., Thorpe, Matthew P., Desser, Terry S., Heitkamp, Darel E., Hull, Nathan C., Johnson, Karen S., Koontz, Nicholas A, Mlady, Gary W., Welch, Timothy J., and Grimm, Lars J. 2019. Bias in Radiology Resident Selection: Do We Discriminate Against the Obese and Unattractive? Academic Medicine 94, 11 (November): 1774–1780.
ABC 11. 2019. Obese, unattractive students discriminated against in medical admissions process, Duke study finds. June 5.

Wednesday: Why are some groups “protected” and others are not? Look at these examples and come ready to discuss.

Week 13, Apr 10, 12. Should government mandate better working conditions? What do we call mandatory labor inside prisons? 

Monday: The government mandated the end to child labor, requires certain safety conditions in the workplace, mandates a minimum wage, and so on. Business owners often oppose these intrusions on their autonomy. What are the common frames for and against legal mandates for improved working conditions? Let’s discuss some of the current controversies in this area: What should be the minimum wage? How much vacation time should a worker get? What about maternity / paternity leave? What are the most effective frames for and against each of these ideas? (no readings)

Wednesday: Is prison labor slave labor?

***Note: Initial draft of entire paper due in class Wed Apr 12.***

Week 14, Apr 17, 19: Abolish the police, abolish prisons, can we do better with this frame? Who opposes human rights, and what are their arguments?

Monday: Is “abolish the police” or “abolish prisons” the best frame? Come to class with ideas of how to frame police and prison reform. (no readings)

Wednesday: Pick your favorite human rights movement that eventually succeeded. Who was opposed? What were their arguments? What do those arguments have in common, if anything? Is this still happening? What are the top arguments for people opposed to demands for changes to ensure equal justice or equal rights? (no readings)

Week 15, Apr 24, 26: Conclusions

Monday: Summary and open discussion

  • Here is the article about the slowly declining size of trophy fish that I mentioned the other day.
  • And here is an NPR story about it. Note the link toward the bottom about the "shifting baseline" -- pretty interesting... Here is the link, which is broken in the NPR page.
  • Wednesday: Discussion and feedback

    ***Note: Final paper projects due in class Apr 26.***

    (Last updated: April 20, 2023)