The press coverage of trade issues: a comparative analysis of public agenda-setting and trade politics

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Series Details Vol.14, No.2, March 2007, p269-292
Publication Date March 2007
ISSN 1350-1763
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During the last decade trade has become a fertile laboratory for studying interest group politics and agenda-setting. This paper illustrates the mechanisms through which trade issues become prominent on the media agenda. The analysis resorts to two datasets. First, we use comparative data (covering Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands) on press coverage regarding issues that have been dealt with in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and in which the European Union (EU) had a stake. Second, in order to measure group prominence we analyse a dataset on the involvement of interest groups in WTO ministerial conferences, WTO symposia and the EU's Civil Society Dialogue. The analysis is focused on four factors: Member State, issue accessibility, sector density and, finally, interest mobilization. In general, the most effective predictors of public visibility are Member State, issue accessibility and interest mobilization.

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