Focus Event and Public Policy
A focus event or focusing event is an occurrence, typically exogenous, which emphasizes or highlights a challenge that seems to demand non-incremental public policy intervention, or catalyzes a previously vague understanding of a public problem, potentially highlighting a preferred path forward for policy intervention.
A focusing event (Throughout this entry, I refer to the term as “focusing events,” consistent with a perceived preference in the literature.), also called a focus event or a triggering event, is an occurrence that can make government decision-makers aware of the existence of a problem. In the literature, the event is usually from outside the policy apparatus and its structures. It is a “push…like a crisis or disaster that comes along to call attention to the problem, a powerful symbol that catches on, or the personal experience of a policy maker” (Kingdon 2003, pp. 94–95)....
- Baumgartner FR, Jones BD (1993) Agendas and instability in American politics. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Birkland TA (1996) Natural disasters as focusing events: policy communities and political response. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 14(2):221–243Google Scholar
- Birkland TA (2006) Lessons of disaster: policy change after catastrophic events. Georgetown University Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Kingdon JW (2003) Agendas, alternatives, and public policies, 2nd edn. Longman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm J, Carlson T, Djupsund G, Högväg J (2015) Citizens’ emotional and cognitive responses to focusing events – an experimental study. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 33(3):407–427Google Scholar
- Sapat A, Li Y, Mitchell C, Esnard A (2011) Policy learning and policy change: Katrina, Ike and post-disaster housing. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters 29(1):26–56Google Scholar
- Teasley CE III, Harrell SW (1996) A real garbage can model: measuring the costs of politics with a computer assisted decision support software (dss) program. Public Adm Q 19(4):479–492Google Scholar