Political Science ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-5-2023


More than ever, Americans disagree on what issues are important. This diversity in the public agenda has received scant attention in recent years. Consequently, our understanding of why agenda diversity developed relies on a single analysis method, and we know next to nothing about the consequences for the American polity. Using a novel approach to measuring agenda diversity and an advanced experimental design, this dissertation demonstrates the causal connection between issue-based selective exposure to news and higher agenda diversity. Concerning its consequences, this work investigates congressional responsiveness. Results from a complex analysis of constituency public opinion, Congress bill sponsorship, and press releases show strong support for an expansion hypothesis. Overall, agenda diversity is growing with time and that growth is caused by increased opportunities for citizens to select their news. While diversifying the public agenda could threaten the government's responsiveness, officials are expanding their activity to accommodate public demands.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jessica Feezell

Second Committee Member

Michael Rocca

Third Committee Member

Gabriel Sanchez

Fourth Committee Member

Jaime Settle




Public Agenda, Agenda Setting, Congress, Representation

Document Type