Agenda Dynamics in Spain
Laura Chaqués Bonafont, Anna Palau and Frank R. Baumgartner
Palgrave Macmillan. 2015
Spanish politics has evolved from a consensual democracy with a focus on consolidating democratic rule to one where political parties increasingly polarize around ideologically rigid positions of Left and Right. No government seems able to resolve fundamental social conflicts relating to economic growth, relations with the regions, the EU, and the Church. Members of Parliament are regularly sidelined compared to the Prime Minister, even as the regional governments and the European Union increasingly make important policy decisions in a growing number policy domains. Tracing political history from the transition to democracy to the present, this engaging and highly empirical book provides a new look at Spanish politics, based on a policy agendas approach. Students, academics, and those interested in policy change and institutional design over the long term, will all find the book of interest.
About the Authors
Laura Chaqués Bonafont is Professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona, Research Fellow at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), and director of the Spanish Policy Agendas Project. In 2014 she won the ICREA academia prize.
Anna M. Palau is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona and member of the Spanish Policy Agendas Project.
Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He is one of the founders and directors of the US Policy Agendas Project and has published such books as Agendas and Instability in American Politics, The Politics of Attention, and The Politics of Information, all with Bryan D. Jones.
’Laura Chaques Bonafont, Anna Palau, and Frank Baumgartner deploy the vast database of the Spanish Policy Agenda Project to show how policymaking attention is a scarce commodity in the political process and how it affects policy outcomes. The book challenges current understandings of European politics by studying attention allocation along with the more standard factors of political preferences and governing institutions, and, as a consequence, offers new insights into Spanish politics as well as comparative politics more generally. It is a must-read for students of public policy processes, comparative politics, and Spanish politics.’
– Bryan D. Jones, J.J. ’Jake’ Pickle Regents’ Chair in Congressional Studies, University of Texas at Austin, USA
’This is a very important book for our understanding of the Spanish policy process during its recent democratic period. Very rich in providing original data, Agenda Dynamics in Spain introduces a sophisticated analysis of policy-making in a parliamentary democracy, focusing on the relations between the executive and the legislative in a context of multi-level government, from the regional to the European level. Making clear how policy agenda actually works, this book represents a milestone for public policy analysis in Spain and a very relevant contribution for the study of European comparative politics.’
– Jacint Jordana, Director of the Institut Barcelona d’Etudis Internacionals, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain