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Palgrave Macmillan

Policy Agendas in Autocracy, and Hybrid Regimes

The Case of Hungary

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Analyses policy agendas in hybrid regimes for the first time
  • Use machine learning and Big Data sources to analyse political and legal texts
  • Uses 150 years of Hungarian political history as an example of how policy-making is conducted by different regime types

Part of the book series: Comparative Studies of Political Agendas (CSPA)

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Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Introduction

  2. Theory and Research Strategy

  3. The Dynamics of Policy Agendas in Four Regimes of Hungarian History

  4. Discussion


About this book

Over the past thirty years the comparative study of policy agendas under the aegis of the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) has become one of the fastest growing sub-field in policy research. Yet, similarly to policy studies in general, most of the agenda-setting literature focuses on well-established democracies. This edited volume offers a ground-breaking analysis of a hitherto less examined topic in comparative politics: the dynamics of policy agendas in Socialist autocracy and in hybrid regimes. We propose that policymaking in authoritarian and illiberal regimes is different from the practices of democracies which we analyse based on a unique historical policy agendas database built by the Hungarian CAP team at the Centre for Social Sciences in Budapest. We find that punctuated equilibrium theory offers a good description of policy dynamics regardless of policy regimes, yet punctuations are more pronounced in autocratic and illiberal settings. These regime types also share a tendency towards centralization, a less efficient use of public information and a suppression of democratic participation in the policy process. This book may be of interest to scholars and students of policy studies, agenda-setting and the politics of authoritarianism.


“This important book, the result of a collaboration among a team of Hungarian scholars, unifies theories of governing regimes with policy process studies. It focuses on changing patterns of attention to policy issues across five major regimes that Hungary has experienced since 1867. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitive examinations of policy choices, along with intensive case studies in each regime, the authors test prevailing theories in the literature and generate some fresh thinking on policy change. The book will be essential reading in both policy studies and comparative politics.”

Bryan D. Jones, JJ “Jake” Pickle Regents’ Chair in Congressional Studies, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, USA

“The volume edited by Miklós Sebők and Zsolt Boda—with ten, mainly early career collaborators—offers an exceptionally careful analysis of a—mainly unsuccessful—century-long struggle of Hungary to combine liberalism and democracy. This casestudy of a small semi-peripheral country is of great theoretical interest to those who are interested in the world-wide spread of liberal democracy between 1970 and 2005 and its decline during the past 15 years. Warmly recommended for political scientists, economists an and sociologist.”

Ivan Szelenyi, William Graham Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Yale University, USA

Editors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Social Sciences, MTA Centre of Excellence, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, Budapest, Hungary

    Miklós Sebők, Zsolt Boda

About the editors

Zsolt Boda is a Research Professor and Director General of the Centre for Social Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, as well as a part-time Professor in Political Science at ELTE University of Budapest, Hungary. His academic work focuses on the problems of governance, public policy, as well as institutional trust, its social roots, and its consequences for policy effectiveness. He is the co-leader (with Miklós Sebők) of the Hungarian Comparative Agendas Project. He is also the principal investigator of DEMOS – Democratic efficacy and the varieties of populism in Europe, a consortial H2020 project.

Miklós Sebők is a Research Professor of the Centre of Social Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, and serves as the Director of the Institute for Political Science at the Centre for Social Sciences. He is the co-leader (with Zsolt Boda) of the Hungarian Comparative Agendas Project, and Research Director of the Artificial Intelligence National Lab at CSS. His research interests include political economy and public policy and the application of text mining and machine learning methods in these fields.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Policy Agendas in Autocracy, and Hybrid Regimes

  • Book Subtitle: The Case of Hungary

  • Editors: Miklós Sebők, Zsolt Boda

  • Series Title: Comparative Studies of Political Agendas

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Political Science and International Studies, Political Science and International Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-73222-6Published: 02 June 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-73225-7Published: 03 June 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-73223-3Published: 01 June 2021

  • Series ISSN: 2947-8146

  • Series E-ISSN: 2947-8154

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXI, 313

  • Number of Illustrations: 19 b/w illustrations, 9 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Public Policy, European Politics, Comparative Politics

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