When Does Government Listen to the Public? Voluntary Associations and Dynamic Agenda Representation in the United States

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The aim of the paper is to examine how the population size of voluntary associations affects the process through which the public’s issue priorities are translated into policy priorities. We conduct a time-series analysis of political attention in executive and legislative agendas at the US federal level in the period 1971-2001 covering all issues addressed by the US government. We show that the number of voluntary associations in a policy area has a positive conditioning effect on the link between public priorities and attention for the President's State of the Union Address. However, our results do not find a positive effect for voluntary associations at later stages of the policy cycle which experience a higher degree of institutional friction. The findings underline the importance of distinguishing between different stages of policy-making when considering the impact of voluntary associations on dynamic agenda responsiveness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)111-132
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

ID: 182298957