Baumgartner vividly illustrates how such variables as degree of conflict and environment combine with the strategic behavior of policy makers to determine the nature of participation and policy outcomes. . . . Specialists in both French politics and comparative public policy will thus find this book to be a significant and provocative contribution to the literature.
Education policy provides a fertile ground for analyzing the perennial tug-of-war between interest groups and public officials. Baumgartner considers thirty examples of French education policymaking during the early 1980s using a combination of documentary evidence, interviews with more than 100 politicians, civil servants, members of parliament, union and interest group leaders, and a thorough analysis of press coverage of education topics.
Baumgartner's study is an excellent one that merits wide notice. . . . as it constitutes an important study both of agenda-setting that is in many ways cross-nationally applicable and of an increasingly important domain of public policy in the advanced, industrial democracies. It is also, simply, a fine book on France.
Baumgartner's book should receive the attention of anyone interested in theories of political decision making. The research is strongly theoretically oriented; . . . his approach is highly innovative.