The Agenda-Setting Government Resilience Framework: The Case of Economic Diversification in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic (2008-2017)


  • Mergen Dyussenov


Notwithstanding the evolution in agenda-setting theories, their major assumption has been a passive stance of the government. More recent scholars (e.g. Boin et al., 2009), while taking an actor-centric approach to analysing agenda-setting processes in the EU, explicitly assume an ability of other actors, both inside and outside the government, to effectively exploit crisis events that emerge on policy arenas by aggressively pushing their own narratives and frames and thus setting the government agenda. While similarly taking an actor-centric approach to studying agenda-setting interactions, this paper seeks to fill a gap in existing policy research by explicitly assuming the government’s capacity and motivation to withstand the external pressure that is often exerted by other key actors, and thus by introducing a concept of government resilience as applied to agenda-setting. It furthermore attempts to quantify the notion of government resilience, thus addressing the issue of operationalising a change in public policy. Reflective of growing calls among scholars to look into policy change in the developing world, this paper develops a framework that could be useful not only in assessing the degree of resilience of a certain actor, e.g. the government, as applied to agenda-setting but used as a diagnostic tool to assess the government’s capacity to pursue its agenda and implement policy measures. Seeking to explore the potential applicability of the new framework in the context of economic diversification across two postSoviet nations – Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – this study looks into the time span of 2008-2017.