UNC poli sci prof Frank Baumgartner and co-authors introduce a special issue of CPS:
Abstract: Major new understandings of policy change are emerging from a program to measure attention to policies across nations using the same instrument. Participants in this special issue have created new indicators of government activities in 11 countries over several decades. Each database is comprehensive in that it includes information about every activity of its type (e.g., laws, bills, parliamentary questions, prime ministerial speeches) for the time period covered, typically several decades. These databases are linked by a common policy topic classification system, which allows new types of analyses of public policy dynamics over time. The authors introduce the theoretical and practical questions addressed in the volume, explain the nature of the work completed, and suggest some of the ways that this new infrastructure may allow new types of comparative analyses of public policy, institutions, and outcomes. In particular, the authors challenge political scientists to incorporate policy variability into their analyses and to move far beyond the search for partisan and electoral explanations of policy change.