Focus Event and Public Policy

  • Christopher L. AtkinsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_274-1

Synonyms

Definition

A focus event or focusing event is an occurrence, typically exogenous, which emphasizes or highlights a challenge that seems to demand non-incremental public policy intervention, or catalyzes a previously vague understanding of a public problem, potentially highlighting a preferred path forward for policy intervention.

Introduction

A focusing event (Throughout this entry, I refer to the term as “focusing events,” consistent with a perceived preference in the literature.), also called a focus event or a triggering event, is an occurrence that can make government decision-makers aware of the existence of a problem. In the literature, the event is usually from outside the policy apparatus and its structures. It is a “push…like a crisis or disaster that comes along to call attention to the problem, a powerful symbol that catches on, or the personal experience of a policy maker” (Kingdon 2003, pp. 94–95)....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Atkinson CL (2014) Public policy processes and the environment: implications for a sustainable future. Sustain Account Manag Policy J 5(4):457–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumgartner FR, Jones BD (1993) Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  3. Béland D, Howlett M, Mukherjee I (2018) Instrument constituencies and public policy-making: an introduction. Policy Soc 37(1):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birkland TA (1996) Natural disasters as focusing events: policy communities and political response. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 14(2):221–243Google Scholar
  5. Birkland TA (2006) Lessons of disaster: policy change after catastrophic events. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Boin A, ’t Hart P, McConnell A (2009) Crisis exploitation: political and policy impacts of framing contests. J Eur Publ Policy 16(1):81–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boucher A (2017) Boundary spanning regimes and public policy change: the convergence of welfare and immigration policies. Aust J Polit Sci 52(1):19–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen MD, March JG, Olsen JP (1972) A garbage can model of organizational choice. Adm Sci Q 17(1):1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crow DA et al (2017) Local media coverage of wildfire disasters: an analysis of problems and solutions in policy narratives. Environ Plann C Polit Space 35(5):849–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dekker R, Scholten P (2017) Framing the immigration policy agenda: a qualitative comparative analysis of media effects on Dutch immigration policies. Int J Press/Politics 22(2):202–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dill RK, Wu HD (2009) Coverage of Katrina in local, regional, national newspapers. Newsp Res J 30(1):6–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fowler L, Neaves TT, Terman JN, Cosby AG (2017) Cultural penetration and punctuated policy change: explaining the evolution of U S energy policy. Rev Policy Res 34(4):559–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Henstra D (2010) Explaining local policy choices: a multiple streams analysis of municipal emergency management. Can Public Adm 53(2):241–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kingdon JW (2003) Agendas, alternatives, and public policies, 2nd edn. Longman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Levine JN, Esnard A, Sapat A (2007) Population displacement and housing dilemmas due to catastrophic disasters. J Plan Lit 22(1):3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lindholm J, Carlson T, Djupsund G, Högväg J (2015) Citizens’ emotional and cognitive responses to focusing events – an experimental study. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 33(3):407–427Google Scholar
  17. McCormick S, Whitney K (2013) The making of public health emergencies: West Nile virus in New York City. Sociol Health Illn 35(2):268–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Michaels S, Goucher NP, McCarthy D (2006) Policy windows, policy change, and organizational learning: watersheds in the evolution of watershed management. Environ Manag 38:983–992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nohrstedt D (2008) The politics of crisis policymaking: Chernobyl and Swedish nuclear energy policy. Policy Stud J 36(2):257–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. O’Donovan K (2017) An assessment of aggregate focusing events, disaster experience, and policy change. Risk Hazards Crisis Public Policy 8(3):201–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Petridou E (2014) Theories of the policy process: contemporary scholarship and future directions. Policy Stud J 42(S1):S12–S32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roberts P (2009) An unnatural disaster. Adm Soc 41(6):763–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Robinson SE, Eller WS (2010) Participation in policy streams: testing the separation of problems and solutions in subnational policy systems. Policy Stud J 38(2):199–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sapat A, Li Y, Mitchell C, Esnard A (2011) Policy learning and policy change: Katrina, Ike and post-disaster housing. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 29(1):26–56Google Scholar
  25. Teasley CE III, Harrell SW (1996) A real garbage can model: measuring the costs of politics with a computer assisted decision support software (dss) program. Public Adm Q 19(4):479–492Google Scholar
  26. Unlu A, Kapucu N, Sahin B (2010) Disaster and crisis management in Turkey: a need for a unified crisis management system. Disaster Prev Manag 19(2):155–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wagner T (2007) Reframing garbage: solid waste policy formulation in Nova Scotia. Can Public Policy 33(4):459–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watanabe R (2016) After the Fukushima disaster: Japan’s nuclear policy change from 2011 to 2012. Rev Policy Res 33(6):623–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zahariadis N (2015) The shield of Heracles: multiple streams and the emotional endowment effect. Eur J Polit Res 54:466–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Administration & LawUniversity of West FloridaPensacolaUSA