Cabinet ministers and the use of agenda-setting power: Evidence from cabinet ministers in Israel

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Cabinet ministers in parliamentary democracies have significant agenda-setting power. However, not all ministers use it equally. This paper examines what affects the ministers' use of their agenda-setting power. It explores this question based on the case of Israel, using three measures of agenda change and in-depth interviews with former ministers. The paper finds that limited agenda capacity constrains the ministers' agenda-setting power. However, the ministers themselves do not see this as a significant constraint and point at motivation instead. Ministers holding a portfolio that is salient to their party are not likely to change the agenda more. Ministers from small parties change the agenda less, and so do ministers in ministries where a significant proportion of services are provided by street level bureaucrats. Ministers in ministries that are seen as more salient change the agenda more. These findings are consequential for understanding policy responsiveness and proportionality in policy response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-920
Number of pages24
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number4
Early online date2021
StatePublished - Nov 2022

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  • agenda change
  • cabinet ministers
  • coalition government


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