Home » » When Does Government Listen to the Public? Voluntary Associations and Dynamic Agenda Representation in the United States
Abstract: Abstract The aim of the article 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 U.S. federal level in the period 1971â€“2001, covering all issues addressed by the U.S. 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 policymaking when considering the impact of voluntary associations on dynamic agenda responsiveness.