Who sets the agenda and who responds to it in the Danish parliament? A new model of issue competition and agenda-setting


Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus, Bartholins Allé, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. Tel.: +4589421133; Fax: +4586139839; E-mail: cgp@ps.au.dk; Website: http://www.agendasetting.dk


Inspired by the agenda-setting literature, this article outlines a model of issue competition focusing on the interaction between government and opposition parties through the party-system agenda. Unlike previous studies of issue competition, the model makes it possible to answer questions such as why some parties have greater success than others in forcing other parties to address unpleasant issues. One of the central implications of the model is that opposition parties are freer to focus continually on issues that are advantageous to themselves, whereas government parties more often are forced to respond to issues brought up on the party-system agenda. Using data on issue competition in Denmark covering 25 years and 23 issue categories, the issue competition model is evaluated and finds strong support in a set of cross-sectional time-series analyses.