At the beginning of each Parliamentary session, the Dutch Queen gives a speech (Troonrede) in which she presents the government's policy goals and legislative agenda for the year to come. The general assumption is that newly elected governments will use agenda-setting moments such as the Queen's speech to put new issues on the national agenda. But does this really happen? Are governmental agendas characterized by sudden shifts following elections or by continuity? After all, at least one coalition party of the previous Dutch government is also a member of the new coalition government. So how much do changes in coalition membership result in changes in policy agendas? In this paper, we study the macro-level structure of the Dutch policy agenda and link patterns of agenda-setting with the institutional context in which this agenda-setting process occurs, that is, the Dutch parliamentary democracy characterized by multi-party government. We coded all Queen's speeches between 1945 and 2007 with a topic code book, based on similar code books used in other countries. In this way, we can examine Dutch agenda-setting patterns and assess the effects of coalition composition and coalition life cycle (from the first year a newly formed government is installed to the last year it is still in office) on agenda-setting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations