The determinants of the executive weekly agenda in Portugal: party mandates vs media attention
10th Annual Conference of the Comparative Agendas Project
National executives are the engine of policy change in political systems. Unsurprisingly, the formation of executive agendas attracted a lot of attention in scholarly research: a number of works were devoted to the analysis of the policy content of government programs (Breeman et al., 2009; Jennings et al., 2011; Mortensen et al., 2011). These documents are set on a periodic basis, at the beginning of either the legislative mandate or each legislative session. On the other hand, we still know little about how executives micro-manage their agenda on a weekly basis. How do they reconcile party commitments and external pressures coming from society and conveyed by the media at this micro-level? This paper contributes to understand the mechanisms of short-term executive agenda-setting by analysing the policy content of Council of ministers weekly press releases in Portugal from 2002 until 2015. By means of time-series crosssectional models it investigates how the executive weekly agenda responds to governing and opposition platform commitments as well as to the issue focus of the mass media. It also asks how economic conditions may affect these dynamics.