Discussion Questions – Agenda Setting

Continuing with our consideration of COVID 19 as a complex, still-emerging public policy problem, let’s consider it from an agenda-setting perspective. Depending on who’s interpreting the stages model of the public policy process, some would say that agenda setting is a catalyst for the public policy process. Others, like Cairney (2019) integrate it into the process. Whether you believe that the agenda setting function is tertiary to or enveloped in the public policy process, perhaps we can agree that COVID 19 issue identification and policy response is an interesting phenomenon to discuss

1. First, consider that COVID 19 has unquestioningly dominated both the systemic and institutional agenda, as defined by Cobb and Elder (1983 98). But how?  Interpret their definitions of systemic and institutional agendas to discuss how COVID 19 exists on both of these agendas.  Use examples from this classic article to support your points.  (7 points)

2. Next, consider John Kingdon’s well-known Multiple Streams Framework (MSF) , as articulated in Beland and Howlett (2016), to construct and articulate an explanation for how COVID 19 has elements of a problem stream, a policy stream and a political stream which converged to form a problem for public attention. Be sure to define these terms in your discussion. Who are some of the policy entrepreneurs have emerged to address this public policy problem. (10 points).

3. Why has Kingdon’s work on agenda setting endured over time? (3 points).

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