Reading Assessments # 2
September 30, 2010
In Jon W. Kingdom’s Agenda Setting, the author explores how governmental agendas are established. Kingdon’s answers are concentrated on the following: problems, politics, and visible participants. Per Kingdon, problems come to occupy the attention of governmental officials according to how they are informed of the conditions and in the ways in which the conditions become defined as problems. The author discusses how indicators can establish a problem exists, assess the magnitude of the condition, and discern changes in the condition. Focusing events such as disasters or crisis are also noted for drawing attention. Kingdon also identified feedback about existing operations, both formal and informal were recognized as methods which inform officials about conditions-which come to be defined as problems.
Kingdon also recognizes developments in the political sphere as powerful agenda setters. The author notes that agendas are influenced by the following; new administration, national mood, and interest groups. Moreover, visible participants, such as the president, and prominent members of Congress are also noted for affecting the agenda. While the hidden cluster, such as academic specialist and career bureaucrats affect the alternatives. Kingdon suggests there is a higher probability of an item “making” the agenda if all three elements- problem, policy, and politics-are present. The author also contributes timing as factor for items “making” the agenda. An open policy window is an ideal opportunity for advocates to push their “agenda.” Windows are opened by events associated with either the problem or political streams. The difficulties with windows is that they are scare and with short durations. However, when windows are open the likelihood of an item making the agenda-particularly when a skilled entrepreneur is present-is increased.