POLI 718
Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30pm, Hamilton 351, Spring 2017

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 962-0414
Web site: http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/

Office hours: M, W 10-11, T 2-3, and by appointment

Click here for the syllabus

Click here for supplemental readings

Watch this space for further announcements and resources throughout the term.

Click here for the weekly reading / paper assignments: Week 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Week 1, Jan. 17, 2017.  Introductions and discussion, no readings.

Week 2.  Jan. 24.  Where things started: Power, Conflict Expansion, Agenda-Denial

  1. Dahl, Robert A.  1957. The Concept of Power. Behavioral Science 2: 201–15.
  2. Schattschneider, E.E. 1957. Intensity, Visibility, Direction, and Scope.  American Political Science Review 51: 933–42.
  3. Bachrach, Peter and Morton Baratz. 1962. The Two Faces of Power. American Political Science Review 56: 947–52.
  4. Riker, William H.  1964. Some Ambiguities in the Notion of Power. American Political Science Review 58: 341–9.
  5. Walker, Jack L., Jr.  1966. A Critique of the Elitist Theory of Democracy. American Political Science Review 60: 285–95, 391–92.
  6. Dahl, Robert A.  1966. Further Reflections on “The Elitist Theory of Democracy.” American Political Science Review 60: 296–305.
  7. Roger Cobb and Charles D. Elder. 1971.  The Politics of Agenda-Building: An Alternate Perspective for Modern Democratic Theory.  Journal of Politics 33: 892-915.
  8. Downs, Anthony. 1972. Up and Down with Ecology: The Issue Attention Cycle. Public Interest 28: 38–50.
  9. Cobb, Roger W., Jeannie Keith-Ross, and Marc Howard Ross. 1976. Agenda Building as a Comparative Political Process. American Political Science Review 70: 126–38.
  10. Walker, Jack L., Jr. 1977. Setting the Agenda in the U.S. Senate: A Theory of Problem Selection. British Journal of Political Science 7: 423–45.

Week 3, Jan. 31.  Generating Powerlessness as the Ultimate Power

  1. Gaventa, John.  1980. Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. Urbana: University of Illinois Press

 Week 4.  Feb 7.  Ambiguity, Choice under Complexity, and Multiple Streams

  1. Kingdon, John W. 1995. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. 2d. ed. New York: HarperCollins. (earlier 1984 edition also ok)
  2. Cohen, Michael, James G. March, and Johan P. Olsen. 1972. A Garbage Can Theory of Organizational Choice. Administrative Science Quarterly 17: 1–25.

Due in class:  One-page single spaced memo explaining your proposed term-paper project.  It should explain the puzzle you want to explore and your approach.  If you have some ideas about the relevant literature, please include.  Give as much detail as you can at this point.  If you are deciding between two possible topics, give me two memos; that is fine. These can be short; 1-3 pages.

Week 5, Feb. 14. Punctuated Equilibrium, Positive Feedback, Images and Venues

  1. Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. 2009 [1993]. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  (either edition is ok)
  2. Eldredge, Niles, and Stephen J. Gould.  1985 [1972]. Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism. In Niles Eldredge, Time Frames: The Evolution of Punctuated Equilibrium.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Appendix, pp. 193–223. [Originally published in Thomas J. M. Schopf, ed., Models in Paleobiology. San Francisco: Freeman, Cooper, pp. 82–115]

Week 6, Feb. 21.  Developing a Model of Choice based on Attention

  1. Jones, Bryan D. 1994. Reconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics: Attention, Choice, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  2. Simon, Herbert A. 1985. Human Nature in Politics: The Dialogue of Psychology with Political Science. American Political Science Review 79: 293–304.

Week 7, Feb. 28.  Attention, Information, Cognition, and the Distributional Approach

  1. Jones, Bryan D., and Frank R. Baumgartner.  2005.  The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  2. Baumgartner, Frank R., Christian Breunig, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Bryan D. Jones, Peter B. Mortensen, Michiel Neytemans, and Stefaan Walgrave.  2009.  Punctuated Equilibrium in Comparative PerspectiveAmerican Journal of Political Science 53, 3 (July):  602–19.
  3. Jones, Bryan D., Frank R. Baumgartner, Christian Breunig, Christopher Wlezien, Stuart Soroka, Martial Foucault, Abel François, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Peter John, Chris Koski, Peter B. Mortensen, Frédéric Varone, and Stefaan Walgrave.  2009.  A General Empirical Law for Public Budgets: A Comparative Analysis.  American Journal of Political Science 53, 4 (October):  855–73.

Annotated bibliography due.  This means you should have identified the key source material you are planning to use.  You don’t have to have read it all yet but you should have identified the likely suspects.  A longer bibliography is better than a short one.  No need for extensive annotations, but rather just a list of readings organized by the topics that you plan to cover.

Week 8, Mar. 7.  The Politics of Information; Catch-up on Cascade Models

  1. Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones. 2015.  The Politics of Information.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  2. David, Paul A.  1985. Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. American Economic Review 75: 332–37.
  3. Arthur, W. Brian.  1989.  Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-in by Historical Events. Economic Journal 99 (394): 116–131.
  4. Bikhchandani, Sushil, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch. 1992. A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades. Journal of Political Economy 100: 992–1026.

Mar. 13-17 Spring Break

Week 9, Mar. 21.  Comparative Studies

  1. Green-Pedersen, Christoffer, and Stefaan Walgrave, eds.  2014.  Agenda Setting, Policies, and Political Systems:  A Comparative Approach.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Week 10, Mar. 28.  Mass Communications Approaches

  1. McCombs, Maxwell.  2014.  Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion.  Cambridge (UK): Polity Press.
  2. Wolfe, Michelle, Bryan D. Jones, and Frank R. Baumgartner.  2013. A Failure to Communicate: Agenda Setting in Media and Policy Studies. Political Communication 30, 2: 175–192.

 Detailed outline of paper due.  This should include a full structure, planned cites, methods, etc.  The text need not be written but the structure should be complete, in outline form.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is to complete the paper if you have a complete outline in the proper order.

Week 11, Apr. 4. A Major Agenda / Framing Shift Happening Right Now; also a Theory of Entrepreneurs

  1. Dagan, David, and Steven M. Teles. 2016. Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration. New York: Oxford University Press.

 Week 12, Apr. 11.  Wealth, Power, and Influence

  1. Martin, Isaac William. 2013. Rich People’s Movements: Grassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Scheve, Kenneth, and David Stasavage.  2016.  Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

(Note: I will divide the class into two groups and each group will report and discuss one of these books.)

Week 13, Apr. 18.  A Return to the Study of Power and Influence

  1. Grossman, Matt. 2014. Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change since 1945.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Week 14, Apr. 25.  Course summary (Tuesday); A Theory of the Composition of the Front Page of the New York Times (Friday)

Note: For this week I propose a one-hour meeting at our regular class time, plus a meeting on Friday April 28 with the author, our APRG speaker that week.

For Tuesday: come to class with an idea of an interesting but unanswered research question for a book-length / dissertation type project that stems from your readings this semester.  Consider three factors and try to come up with research ideas that score high on each:  

  1. How interesting or important is the idea?  That is, how many people in the profession would care if you could answer this question?  Would someone publish the results?  
  2. How feasible is it to answer the question?  What would it take, in terms of research and data collection, to do it? 
  3. How motivated would you be to study it? Is it just too boring?

A good dissertation comes up cherries on all three items: it’s important, feasible, and exciting (to you). Think of it as a Venn-diagram. There are plenty of things that are exciting, but not feasible, or feasible and important, but just not interesting enough to keep you motivated. It really has to be all three. Come with a one-pager on that topic and I’ll ask you to present quickly what the ideas are. It can be an extension of your term paper, or an entirely different topic. But what I want is that you separately evaluate the three different dimensions and understand that a good project has to be strong on all three.

For Friday: be prepared to discuss Boydstun’s book, with the author and APRG speaker.

  1. Boydstun, Amber E.  2013.  Making the News: Politics, the Media, and Agenda Setting.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Term papers due this week either Monday or Friday.