This article provides an analysis of the allocation of attention to policy problems on the local level, focusing on the executive agenda of six municipalities in the Netherlands over a 25-year period. It reveals that there is specifically a local politics of attention, showing differences between national and local policy agendas in specific policy areas. We did not find evidence that the political composition of the local executive coalitions leads to agenda differences, revealing the more problem-oriented and pragmatic nature of local politics. We did find evidence of an effect of institutional arrangements between national and local government on shifting patterns of attention, such as due to decentralisation. This shows that the local politics of attention is limited in scope and conditioned by the functions of local government and the institutional arrangements of policy making in the Dutch decentralised unitary state and that rearrangements affect these patterns of attention.

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Local government studies
Department of Public Administration

Breeman, G, Scholten, P.W.A, & Arco Timmermans. (2014). Analysing Local Policy Agendas: How Dutch Municipal Executive Coalitions Allocate Attention. Local government studies. doi:10.1080/03003930.2014.930024