The Department of Government
The Department of Government

American Politics Workshop- Bryan Jones & Sean Theriault (UT)

The Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of The Policy Making Agenda Transformed American Politics

Wed, January 30, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


In our book, we document the expansion of the national policy agenda and its effects on modern governance. Beginning in the mid-1950s, peaking in the late 1970s, and declining afterward, the United States experienced a vast expansion in the national policy-making agenda. We call this burst the Great Broadening because government got larger, not by doing more of what it was already doing but by getting involved in new issues. We suggest that the downstream effects of the expansion of the scope of the federal government in the late 1970s include, increases in polarization, the radical transformation of Congress from primarily a lawmaking body to primarily an oversight body, the proliferation of interest groups in Washington D.C. and the conservative counter-revolution.

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