The Local Politics of Attention: Local policy agendas in a comparative and historical perspective (NWO, Dutch Science Foundation)
Local government has its own democratic legitimacy in the Dutch decentralized-unitary state. Yet, we know very little about how local policy agendas have evolved over the past decades, and what the specificities of local policy agendas are in comparison with the national policy agenda. What sorts of policy topics have been in the focus of local policy agendas, what distinguishes policy agendas in specific cities and to what extent have local and national policy agendas over the past decades converged or diverged? Exploring these issues will not only reinforce our understanding of the development of local policy agendas, but also contribute to the ongoing debate in the Netherlands and beyond on the democratic legitimacy of local government. To these aims, this research provides an analysis of the ‘local politics of attention’ over the last 25 years and a systematic comparison of the found patterns of attention between a number of (large, medium-sized and small) cities in the Netherlands and between the local and national level. The project is funded by the Dutch science foundation (NWO) as part of its research programme on Contested Democracy. See: link.