Do the media set the parliamentary agenda? A comparative study in seven countries

Rens Vliegenthart*, Stefaan Walgrave, Frank R. Baumgartner, Shaun Bevan, Christian Breunig, Sylvain Brouard, Laura Chaqués Bonafont, Emiliano Grossman, Will Jennings, Peter B. Mortensen, Anna M. Palau, Pascal Sciarini, Anke Tresch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


A growing body of work has examined the relationship between media and politics from an agenda-setting perspective: Is attention for issues initiated by political elites with the media following suit, or is the reverse relation stronger? A long series of single-country studies has suggested a number of general agenda-setting patterns but these have never been confirmed in a comparative approach. In a comparative, longitudinal design including comparable media and politics evidence for seven European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), this study highlights a number of generic patterns. Additionally, it shows how the political system matters. Overall, the media are a stronger inspirer of political action in countries with single-party governments compared to those with multiple-party governments for opposition parties. But, government parties are more reactive to media under multiparty governments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-301
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Agenda-setting
  • Comparative research; media
  • Parliamentary questions
  • Political systems


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