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Party reputations and policy priorities: how issue ownership shapes executive and legislative agendas

Party reputations and policy priorities: how issue ownership shapes executive and legislative agendas
Party reputations and policy priorities: how issue ownership shapes executive and legislative agendas
Election-oriented elites are expected to emphasize issues on which their party possesses ‘issue ownership’ during campaigns. This article extends those theories to the content of executive and legislative agendas. Arguing that executives have incentives to pursue their party’s owned issues in the legislature, it theorizes three conditions under which these incentives are constrained: when governments are responsive to issues prioritized by the public, when a party has a stronger electoral mandate and under divided government. The theory is tested using time-series analyses of policy agendas of US congressional statutes and State of the Union addresses (1947–2012) and UK acts of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech (1950–2010). The results offer support for the theory, and are particularly strong for the US State of the Union address, providing insights into institutional differences. The implications provide reassurance concerning the conditions under which governments focus attention only on their partisan issue priorities.
0007-1234
443-466
Green, Jane
cff6cee4-a008-4a79-ad4f-bab7f80ff1fd
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Green, Jane
cff6cee4-a008-4a79-ad4f-bab7f80ff1fd
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7

Green, Jane and Jennings, Will (2019) Party reputations and policy priorities: how issue ownership shapes executive and legislative agendas. British Journal of Political Science, 49 (2), 443-466. (doi:10.1017/S0007123416000636).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Election-oriented elites are expected to emphasize issues on which their party possesses ‘issue ownership’ during campaigns. This article extends those theories to the content of executive and legislative agendas. Arguing that executives have incentives to pursue their party’s owned issues in the legislature, it theorizes three conditions under which these incentives are constrained: when governments are responsive to issues prioritized by the public, when a party has a stronger electoral mandate and under divided government. The theory is tested using time-series analyses of policy agendas of US congressional statutes and State of the Union addresses (1947–2012) and UK acts of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech (1950–2010). The results offer support for the theory, and are particularly strong for the US State of the Union address, providing insights into institutional differences. The implications provide reassurance concerning the conditions under which governments focus attention only on their partisan issue priorities.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 March 2017
Published date: April 2019
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 396915
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/396915
ISSN: 0007-1234
PURE UUID: 9c2fd12a-bdaf-41e5-bd9c-399687a0f5ce
ORCID for Will Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Jun 2016 15:46
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 04:21

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Contributors

Author: Jane Green
Author: Will Jennings ORCID iD

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