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[Cross-posted from New Books in Political ScienceFrank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones are the authors of The Politics of Information: Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America (University of Chicago Press 2014). Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill and Jones is the J. J. “Jake” Pickle Regents Chair in Congressional Studies and Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Politics of Information picks up where the authors’ last book, The Politics of Attention, leaves off. They explore how information enters into the policy process and how that has evolved over time, focusing on what they call the “paradox of search”. They make extensive use of the publicly available data that they have collected over the last decade called the Policy Agendas Project. They argue that: “Information determines priorities, and priorities determine action” (p. 40). They discover is that the policy process is replete with information – not all high quality – and that different policy problems integrate information in different ways. They also find that the government has “broadened” – addressing an ever growing array of issues – rather than just “thickening” – through growth in the overall size of government.

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