Will Jennings

University of Southampton
Politics & International Relations

University of Southampton
Southampton , Hampshire
United Kingdom
SO17 1BJ
w.j.jennings@soton.ac.uk |  Visit Personal Website

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I am Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton. My research is concerned with questions relating to public policy and political behaviour. I have written extensively on agenda-setting, public opinion, electoral behaviour, political parties, and the governance of mega-projects and mega-events. I am a methodological pluralist, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, but specialise in time series analysis.

Will Jennings. (2012). Olympic Risks. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Abstract: The task of governing the Olympic Games and the Olympic movement now takes place in an age in which states and societies are increasingly organized in response to risk. At the heart of the risk management in organising the Olympics is the tension between the inherent riskiness of mega-events, which is attributable to their scale and complexities, combined with immense societal, political and organisational pressures for the management of risk. Over time, too, staging the Olympics has become more complex, and riskier, as a consequence of its growing scale and commercial success. Since the 1980s, a profound transformation has occurred in how the Games are organised and governed, with the increased transfer of risk to the market and the spread of regulation as a mode of governance and the formal practice of risk management across functions ranging from finance to security to critical infrastructures to public health. This book is a unique theoretical and empirical analysis of how the Olympic Games are governed, exploring the challenges and pressures of staging the world's largest event and the recent emergence of the formal practice of risk management as a response of decision-makers to the operational demands and complexities of the Games.
URL: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=507003
Green, Jane, and Will Jennings. 2012. ‘Valence as Macro-Competence: An Analysis of Mood in Party Competence Evaluations in the U.K.’ British Journal of Political Science 42(2):311-343.
Abstract: There is a discernable mood in macro-level public evaluations of party issue competence. This paper argues that voters use heuristics to transfer issue competence ratings of parties between issues, therefore issue competence ratings move in common. Events, economic shocks and the costs of governing reinforce these shared dynamics. These expectations are analysed using issue competence data in Britain 1950–2008, and using Stimson's dyad ratios algorithm to estimate ‘macro-competence’. Effects on macro-competence are found for events and economic shocks, time in government, leader ratings, economic evaluations and partisanship, but macro-competence also accounts for unique variance in a model of party choice. The article presents an aggregate-level time-series measure to capture the long-term dynamics of ‘valence’.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007123411000330
Jennings, Will, and Peter John. 2009. ‘The Dynamics of Political Attention: Public Opinion and the Queen’s Speech in the United Kingdom.’ American Journal of Political Science 53(4): 838-854.
Abstract: This article represents the effect of public opinion on government attention in the form of an error-correction model where public opinion and policymaking attention coexist in a long-run equilibrium state that is subject to short-run corrections. The coexistence of policy-opinion responsiveness and punctuations in political attention is attributed to differences in theoretical conceptions of negative and positive feedback, differences in the use of time series and distributional methods, and differences in empirical responsiveness of government to public attention relative to responsiveness to public preferences. This analysis considers time-series data for the United Kingdom over the period between 1960 and 2001 on the content of the executive and legislative agenda presented at the start of each parliamentary session in the Queen's Speech coded according to the policy content framework of the U.S. Policy Agendas Project and a reconstituted public opinion dataset on Gallup's “most important problem” question. The results show short-run responsiveness of government attention to public opinion for macroeconomics, health, and labor and employment topics and long-run responsiveness for macroeconomics, health, labor and employment, education, law and order, housing, and defense.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00404.x

Substantive Focus:
Economic Policy
Governance SECONDARY
Comparative Public Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY
Public Opinion PRIMARY