AGENDA SETTING AND POWER IN POLICY MAKING: A CASE STUDY OF TOBACCO POLICY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Background: Agenda-setting is an important component of the policy making process where the roles of power involved influence the resulting agenda. The aim of this paper is to analyse agenda-setting and the roles of power using tobacco control policy in developing countries as a case study.
Materials and Methods: Scoping review method was adopted with articles identified using Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed and ScienceDirect databases using the keywords “agenda setting”, “power”, “policy making process” and “tobacco control policy”. Only articles published in English within the last 15 years were included. Final 15 articles were reviewed.
Results and Discussion: Prioritization of public health impacts of tobacco control versus its economic contributions is complicated in developing countries. State actors have their own agenda with influence from international actors. Power is exerted by actors in different ways and determines whether problems will be prioritized to become agenda. The decision makers exercise power by authority, coercion and by influencing national, state and non-state actors in decisions made. The power of non-decision-making actors takes the role of influencing and lobbying the decision makers in favour of their own agenda. The agenda-setting phase is important in paving the way for policy formulation. Lessons learned from the case study of tobacco control policy are firstly, leadership of governments hold the power in setting the agenda, secondly, cooperation between tobacco control advocates can ensure success and thirdly, it is important to understand the interfering role of Transnational Tobacco Companies.
Conclusion: Agenda-setting determines issues to be considered by government. The roles of power by various actors can be seen influencing the agenda-setting process of tobacco control policy.Keywords: “agenda setting”, “power”, “policy making process”, “tobacco control policy”