The Department of Government
The Department of Government

American Politics Speaker Series- Dave Peterson (Iowa State Univ)

The Public Policy Agenda of State Legislatures

Wed, November 13, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

American Politics Speaker Series- Dave Peterson (Iowa State Univ)

Abstract: How political actors choose which politics to focus on helps shape the outcome of the policy process.  While the policy agenda of the federal government has received widespread attention, there is much less known about the policy agendas of the U.S. states. In this paper, we describe how and why states choose to have similar agendas.  We rely on the twitter activity of every state legislator in America to measure the attention that states pay to the categories developed in the Policy Agenda Project (PAP).  We develop machine learning tools to categorize the distribution of tweets into the PAP policy categories for each state.  Our results show that states that have similar geography, politics, institutional capacity, and populations have similar agendas.  These results further our understandings of state politics and agenda setting.  The machine learning tools and the data also have the potential for a host of other questions.

Bio: I am a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Iowa State University and former editor of Political Behavior. My research focuses on American politics, particularly elections, public opinion, and voting behavior.  I have several current projects I am working on.  The first examines the role of political interest in mass politics.  The second, develops new tools for automated capturing and coding of online political ads and state legislators' Twitter feeds.  The third looks at how Anglos' attitudes about Latinos shape their views about immigration and politics more generally.  You can find my cv here.

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