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About Policy Agendas Project

Objectives of the Policy Agendas Project

The Policy Agendas Project is an ambitious attempt to provide truly comparable measures of policy changes in the United States since the Second World War. Systematic policy comparisons across time have often eluded students of public policy because of the absence of a valid and reliable set of categories of policy activity. The Policy Agendas Project is a reliable tool for tracking policy changes in the United States, analogous to the National Income Accounts used by economists to track the state of the economy. Users can be assured that our reported measures of policy change have the same fundamental meaning across time, something that cannot be guaranteed without the meticulous coding and reliability standards we impose.

Modern information technology allows users of this website to trace, graph and download policy changes in many different arenas at the click of a mouse. By providing direct information on the sources of our measures of policy changes, this website also allows users to access the original material, which provides the historical context of policy choice.

A unique contribution of the Policy Agendas Project is that many of our datasets allow users to immediately download and access full text source policy documents from linked websites. A long-term objective of the Project is to provide a systematic gateway to a virtual digital policy library through a ‘guided search’ function.


This project is made possible with support from the National Science Foundation, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, the Pennsylvania State University and Texas A&M University.