A key component of any political strategy is finding a decision setting that offers the best prospects for reaching one’s policy goals, an activity referred to as venue shopping. This article supports the theory of venue shopping as laid out in Baumgartner and Jones (1993), but presents a more complicated analysis of its practice than most empirical studies to date. First, venue shopping can be more experimental, and less deliberate or calculated, than is commonly perceived. Second, advocacy groups choose venues not only to advance substantive policy goals but also to serve organizational needs and identities. Finally, venue choice is shaped by policy learning. Advocacy groups choose venues not only for short-term strategic reasons, but also because they have embraced a new understanding of the nature of a policy problem. These factors shape the frequency of venue shopping and thus the pace of policy reform.
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