The projects on this page list past and ongoing research projects that I have played a significant part in. These studies often focus on the creation of new and innovative time series datasets as well as original research using this data. Due to the sheer number of researchers involved in some of these projects (such as the Comparative Agendas Project) the other participants are not listed here. Instead links are provided to each project’s website as available. If you are interested in the data, the research and the people behind it please click to learn more or feel free to contact me directly.
Bureaucratic Agendas: The Responsiveness of Secondary Legislation in a Comparative Perspective
Position: Project Leader
Bureaucracy is a necessity of modern government. However, despite the bureaucracy’s pivotal role in policy-making and therefore political representation alongside its constantly questioned efficiency the level of research on bureaucracies lags far behind that on other political actors. This project aims to significantly build the research on the functioning of bureaucracies by combining existing work on public administration with public policy research on agenda-setting in order to decipher the functioning and the creation of bureaucratic agendas. This research represents an original effort to understand how bureaucracies function over time and across countries. It asks how does the multifaceted principal-agent problem faced by bureaucracies and the tendency towards delegation get resolved given varying degrees of autonomy and different systems of government? Specifically the project considers the influence of the EU on state bureaucracies, how differences between nations affect the formation of bureaucratic agendas and what causes bureaucracies to act outside the express interests of elected government. To accomplish this goal, the project gathers and codes the main form of secondary legislation (e.g. decrees, regulations or statutory instruments) over time in EU member and partner states covered by the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) research community. Using this new data alongside similarly coded data on executive and legislative agendas, public opinion, media coverage, budgets and numerous other datasets available through the CAP community the project conducts extensive quantitative analyses of the research questions listed here and facilities detailed qualitative assessments of bureaucratic outputs.
Data: The coded UK pilot dataset containing all national level UK statutory instruments from 1987 to 2008 as well as the variable codebook is available through the following link:
Please cite the following article when using this data:
Bevan, Shaun. 2015. “Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Effects of Government, Public and European Attention on the UK Bureaucracy.” Public Administration, 93(1): 139-158. (DOI: 10.1111/padm.12113).
Parliamentary Select Committees: Agendas and Networks
Select Committees in the United Kingdom play an increasingly important role in the parliamentary process providing a means for oversight and an access point for lobbying. This project considers the content and actors involved in all parliamentary select committee reports and special reports from 1987 to 2012. It accomplishes this by considering select committee reports as an independent policy agenda for representation affected by and affecting other actors. It further considers the network of actors and lobbyists offering both oral and written evidence in reports allowing for an investigation of the select committee system and lobbying in the United Kingdom in a manner never before possible.
The project is supported by funding from Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) granted to the project's principle investigator, Mark Pickup and is conducted in collaboration with its second co-investigator, Will Jennings.
The CAP brings together a large group of researchers developing systematic indicators of issue attention within different political systems. It extends the Policy Agendas Project topic system to match each system and is currently in the process of finalizing a cross-walked Master Codebook allowing for robust comparative analyses. The coding system classifies events (e.g. bills, parliamentary questions, or media stories) by issue, making it possible to study the frequency of such events, and to enable scholars to find and investigate particular events in more detail.
The list of major topics (e.g. defense or health) and 213 subtopics (e.g. military personnel or hospitals) are comprehensive and applied consistently across time. As a result, they can be used to reliably compare issue attention longitudinally, across decision-making venues, and with the finalization of the Master Codebook, between nations.
Data: Several datasets coded according to the CAP Master Codebook have already been released through project websites with the common CAP data website due to be launched in summer 2015.
This project investigates the ability of parliamentary systems to initiate policy reforms and the effects of party competition and coalition policy-making on the duration and success of those reforms. The project traces the individual reform proposal as the unit of analysis through its life cycle from initial discussion outside the legislative arena through the final parliamentary decision. The goal of these analyses is to get a better understanding of how party competition affects the duration of reform processes and the success of legislative reforms. Analyses in the next phase of the project will further these efforts using CAP data to more fully and comparatively model reforms or as the agenda-setting literature often calls them, punctuations.
The project used the annual volumes of the Encyclopedia to compile a time-series database of all national level voluntary associations in the United States as listed in the Encyclopedia from 1970 to 2005 in 5 year intervals. Estimated annual counts for the full period are also available. The data is coded both by the Encyclopedia subject categories as well as by the major topics of the Policy Agendas Project. A description of coverage and important details concerning the lag between reported copyright years and the information they represent is included in the full dataset codebook.
The Pennsylvania Policy Database Project is a free, online resource that provides access to more than 170,000 state and news media records and enables users to trace and analyze with a few mouse clicks the history of public policy in the Commonwealth since 1979. Designed for easy use by educators, students, researchers, policy makers, news reporters, and the general public, it is the first comprehensive state policy database of its kind. It was modeled on the Policy Agendas Project.
The project, one of the CAP member Projects, led to the development of systematic measures of the policy agenda of British government and politics over time as well as a significant number of research outputs by the various members of the project. These datasets are freely available for public use and we encourage anyone interested either in using the data or applying the policy content coding system to create measures of other aspects of British public policy to get in contact with us.