Collaborative Research: Database Development For The Study Of Public Policy

Project: Research project

Project Details


This collaborative infrastructure project continues the development of a comprehensive database for the analysis of public policy processes in the United States, and establishes a truly interactive application system for the delivery of that database to public policy scholars, students, and policy analysts. The existing database is centered on lawmaking activity; the current project extends the work to the presidency, the executive branch, the courts, and interest group activity. The database links several independent data sets via a system of policy content codes that are constructed to be consistent across time. The approach avoids the pitfalls of relying on data collected for purposes other than policy monitoring. Numerous other variables are collected in addition to the policy content of the cases, adding to the richness and flexibility of these data sets.

Data currently in the system include Congressional hearings (1946-1994), Public Laws (1946-1994), Congressional Quarterly entries (1946-1994(, all statutes enacted (1946-1994), a sample of stories in the New York Times (1947-1994), and Congressional Budget Authority (1947-1997). The researchers add bills introduced in Congress (currently being integrated), legislative floor activity, executive orders and other measures of presidential activity, interest group activity tabulated in the Encyclopedia of Associations, and Supreme Court decisions. The investigators promise to explore other potential sources that contribute to the quantitative monitoring of public policy in the United States.

The resulting system is unique as a research tool because of its comprehensiveness and because of its capacity to allow researchers to analyze policy processes in ways that heretofore have not been possible. These facets continue to improve the ability of social scientists to study policy dynamics and link those dynamics to the process of democratic governance---representation, public decision-making, political communication, and the operation of democratic institutions.

Effective start/end date1/1/0212/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $207,309.00


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