Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, September 4, 2014

Scholar to discuss policy tradeoffs September 11

The La Follette Schoolseminar series gets underway for the semester at noon on Thursday, September 11, with a talk on policy tradeoffs in advanced democracies. Christian Breunig, professor of comparative politics at the University of Konstanz will speak in 422 North Hall.

Breunig will present a model and empirical strategy for analyzing issue tradeoffs in legislative agendas. He will advance two propositions. First, political institutions shape the content of legislative agendas. Broad-based societal issues are more prominent in proportional systems than in majoritarian systems. Second, executives’ attention to economic issues puts them high on the legislative agenda and simultaneously removes other issues from consideration. In other words, government’s need to intervene in the economy determines what the legislative agenda looks like.

Breunig’s relies on data from the Comparative Agendas Project and covers a number of European countries and the United States from 1984 to 2004. A strength of his argument is that it examines legislative policymaking across all political issues (such as defense, health, education) and models them appropriately.

Unless otherwise noted below, the La Follette School seminar meets in the school’s conference room at noon. For information, contact outreach director Terry Shelton, 262-3038, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, September 23: Mike Roll of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Sociology will speak on his research on politics of public sector performance.

Thursday, October 2:  James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of Califonria, San Diego, will give the 2014-15 Hilldale Lecture in Social Studies on how social networks have a powerful effect on a wide range of human behaviors. His talk is titled "How Social Networks Affect Everything You Feel, Think and Do." The lecture is co-sponsored by departments of Political Science and Educational Psychology, as well as the La Follette School and the Hilldale Fund. Wisconsin Idea Room, Education Building. 4 p.m.

Friday, October 3: 1979 La Follette School alum Susan Hedman, administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region V office in Chicago, will speak on proposed climate change regulations.

Tuesday, October 7: Maarten de Jong of the Netherlands Ministry of Finance and Erasmus University will speak on “Purposeful Use of Performance Information in Forestry and Air Traffic Control: A Matter of Nature or Nurture with a Transatlantic Comparison.

Friday, October 10: Philip Kangas, a partner in Grant Thornton, will discuss his consulting work with the public sector.

Tuesday, October 14: La Follette School professor Geoffrey Wallace will present.

Tuesday, October 21: Morgan Robertson of the university’s Department of Geography, will discuss “Market-Based Environmental Policy and the Clean Water Act.”

Tuesday, October 28: La Follette School sociologist Pamela Herd will speak on “Does Being Smarter Make You Healthier?”

Tuesday, November 11: La Follette School alum Andria Hayes-Birchler will discuss work in the federal sector and her career with the Millennium Challenge Corporation. She earned a Master of International Public Affairs degree in 2008. Location to be determined. Noon-1 p.m.

Tuesday, November 18: La Follette School faculty affiliate Lonnie Berger, professor of social work and director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, will give an update on poverty research.

Tuesday, November 25: Master of international public affairs alumni will discuss their career experiences. Location to be determined. Noon-1 p.m.

Tuesday, December 2: Erica Simmons, of the university’s Department of Political Science.

— updated September 16, 2014