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The Diffusion of Policy Diffusion Research in Political Science

Abstract

Over the past fifty years, top political science journals have published hundreds of articles about policy diffusion. This article reports on network analyses of how the ideas and approaches in these articles have spread both within and across the subfields of American politics, comparative politics and international relations. Then, based on a survey of the literature, the who, what, when, where, how and why of policy diffusion are addressed in order to identify and assess some of the main contributions and omissions in current scholarship. It is argued that studies of diffusion would benefit from paying more attention to developments in other subfields and from taking a more systematic approach to tackling the questions of when and how policy diffusion takes place.

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Department of History and Politics, Drexel University (email: erin.r.graham@drexel.edu); Department of Political Science, University of Michigan (email: cshipan@umich.edu); and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia (email: volden@virginia.edu), respectively. The authors thank Rachel Schneider and Mike Zilis for valuable research assistance, Derek Stafford for helpful assistance with network analyses, and participants at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, Mass., 2008, for useful suggestions. The article has gained immensely from generous comments made by Jenna Bednar, Bill Berry, Fred Boehmke, Sarah Brooks, Claire Dunlop, Lorraine Eden, Rob Franzese, Katharina Füglister, Fabrizio Gilardi, Virginia Gray, Don Haider-Markel, Andrew Karch, David Levi-Faur, Covadonga Meseguer, William Minozzi, Chris Mooney, Ben Noble, Aseem Prakash, Claudio Radaelli, Harvey Starr, Diane Stone, Hugh Ward, Kurt Weyland, Alan Wiseman and the anonymous reviewers.

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1 Bennett Colin J., ‘What is Policy Convergence and What Causes It?’ British Journal of Political Science, 21 (1991), 215–33

Berry Frances Stokes and Berry William D., ‘State Lottery Adoptions as Policy Innovations: An Event History Analysis’, American Political Science Review, 84 (1990), 395–415

Karch Andrew, ‘Emerging Issues and Future Directions in State Policy Diffusion Research’, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 7 (2007), 54–80

Meseguer Covandoga and Gilardi Fabrizio, ‘What is New in the Study of Policy Diffusion?’ Review of International Political Economy, 16 (2009), 527–43

Savage Robert L., ‘Diffusion Research Traditions and the Spread of Policy Innovations in a Federal System’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 15 (1985), 1–27

Simmons Beth A. Dobbin Frank and Garrett Geoffrey, ‘Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism’, International Organization, 60 (2006), 781–810

Givan Rebecca Kolins, Soule Sarah A. and Roberts Kenneth M. eds, The Diffusion of Social Movements: Actors, Mechanisms, and Political Effects (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Stone Diane, ‘Learning Lessons and Transferring Policy across Time, Space and Disciplines’, Politics, 19 (1999), 51–9

2 Strang David and Soule Sarah A., ‘Diffusion in Organizations and Social Movements: From Hybrid Corn to Poison Pills’, Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1989), 265–90

Volden Craig, ‘States as Policy Laboratories: Emulating Success in the Children's Health Insurance Program’, Journal of Political Science, 50 (2006), 294–312

Gilardi Fabrizio and Füglister Katharina, ‘Empirical Modeling of Policy Diffusion in Federal States: The Dyadic Approach’, Swiss Political Science Review, 14 (2008): 413–50)

Jr Robert J. Franzese and Hays Jude C., ‘Strategic Interaction Among EU Governments in Active Labor Market Policy-Making’, European Union Politics, 7 (2006), 167–89

Cao Xun, ‘Networks as Channels of Policy Diffusion: Explaining Worldwide Changes in Capital Taxation, 1998–2006’, International Studies Quarterly, 54 (2010), 823–54

3 Milner Helen V. and Mansfield Edward D., ‘The New Wave of Regionalism’, International Organization, 53 (1999), 589–627

4 Vogel David, Trading Up: Consumer and Environmental Regulation in a Global Economy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995)

Prakash Aseem and Potoski Matthew, ‘Racing to the Bottom? Trade, Environmental Governance, and ISO 14001’, American Journal of Political Science, 50 (2006), 350–64

Prakash Aseem and Kollman Kelly L., ‘Biopolitics in the EU and the U.S.: A Race to the Bottom or Convergence to the Top?’ International Studies Quarterly, 47 (2003), 617–41

Zeng Ka and Eastin Josh, ‘International Economic Integration and Environmental Protection: The Case of China’, International Studies Quarterly, 51 (2007), 971–95

5 Walker Jack L., ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’, American Political Science Review, 63 (1969), 880–99

6 Finnemore Martha and Sikkink Kathryn, ‘International Norm Dynamics and Political Change’, International Organization, 52 (1998), 887–917

7 Glick Henry R. and Hays Scott P., ‘Innovation and Reinvention in State Policymaking: Theory and the Evolution of Living Will Laws’, Journal of Politics, 53 (1991), 835–50

8 Collier David and Messick Richard E., ‘Prerequisites Versus Diffusion: Testing Alternative Explanations of Social Security Adoption’, American Political Science Review, 69 (1975), 1299–315

9 Baybeck Brady Berry William D. and Siegel David A., ‘A Strategic Theory of Policy Diffusion via Intergovernmental Competition’, Journal of Politics, 73 (2011), 232–47

10 The list of publications we included in our analysis, along with relevant citation information, can be found at http://sitemaker.umich.edu/cshipan/datasets. Because we collected the data throughout 2008 and 2009, the numerous works published between 2008 and the present are thus not included in the quantitative analysis. We do, however, discuss many of these studies in our qualitative assessment of these growing literatures.

11 Giles Michael W. and Garand James C., ‘Ranking Political Science Journals: Reputational and Citational Approaches’, PS: Political Science & Politics, 40 (2007), 741–52

12 Surely additional important works are excluded using this method. Yet, given the scope of the included works under examination, individual omissions would not substantially affect the overall patterns uncovered here.

13 Boushey Graeme, Policy Diffusion Dynamics in America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Karch Andrew, Democratic Laboratories: Policy Diffusion Among the American States (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007)

Weyland Kurt G., Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2007)

14 Once again, these books are used in the qualitative assessments making up the bulk of the analysis reported here. Meseguer and Gilardi focus their review on two of the more prominent books on international policy diffusion (‘What is New in the Study of Policy Diffusion?’).

15 Axelrod Robert, ‘The Dissemination of Culture: A Model with Local Convergence and Global Polarization’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 41 (1997), 203–26

16 Bernie Grofman, Natalie Masuoka and Scott Feld, ‘Replication Data for: The Political Science 400: A 20-Year Update’, 2007, hdl:1902.1/10398 UNF:3:2tWRl6UVmdq2DwGz4Rvwnw== Bernie Grofman [Distributor].

17 The third author also read the abstracts for approximately 20 per cent of the papers for which the first two authors agreed about the category. In every case, this confirmed the coding by the first two authors.

18 In order to derive the networks, we utilize the Fructerman–Reingold energizing algorithm, which is the most commonly used algorithm for networks with more than 500 nodes. An energizing algorithm provides information about the clusters of nodes, where each study in our dataset is a separate node, and about the distances between these nodes. Each node may be thought of as a steel ring that is magnetically charged and has a different charge from its neighbour. Thus, each node wants to repel every other node; so pushing the nodes closer together requires energy. The edges connecting the nodes are then thought of as also having springs. Stretching the spring requires energy as well, so now there are two forces acting on the rings at the same time: the springs connecting them that pull the nodes together, and the magnetic charges that push them apart. Energizing algorithms allow the springs and charges to find a balance, minimizing the energy necessary to hold the network together. The Fructerman–Reingold algorithm differs from others (e.g., Kamada–Kawaii) in the way it derives the relationship between the length of the spring and the tension on the endpoints.

19 For example, while most of the articles study the spread of policies, a large number study the spread of war/conflict in IR, the spread of democracy in CP, or the spread of norms.

20 While network analyses can be used for a variety of purposes, our purpose here is mainly to demonstrate the degree of connectedness across subfields and the nature of the discussions taking place in each area of scholarship. Colour versions of Figures 2, 3 and 4 allow the patterns to be seen more easily; these are posted online at http://sitemaker.umich.edu/cshipan/datasets.

21 Gray Virginia, ‘Innovation in the States: A Diffusion Study’, American Political Science Review, 67 (1973), 1174–85

22 There has been considerable debate regarding the role of automated drawing algorithms in network analysis. Like many methods, these algorithms can be abused, such as by relying on rotations or projections that offer visually misleading conclusions. Among the many ways to address such concerns, researchers may wish to explore and display results for meaningful subsets of the data, as we do in Figures 2–4. Moreover, although we were careful about accurately illustrating the particular scholarly debates highlighted by subsets in the figures, it is important to note that not every article within the shown subset ‘Race to the Bottom’ was found with the ‘race to the bottom’ search terms, nor is every article outside of that subset about something other than a race to the bottom. The same is true for each of the other subsets shown. Rather, these subsets illustrate the main debates taking place in each part of the figure.

23 See, for example, Craig Volden, ‘The Politics of Competitive Federalism: A Race to the Bottom in Welfare Benefits?’ American Journal of Political Science, 46 (2002), 352–63.

24 Dolowitz David P. and Marsh David, ‘Learning from Abroad: The Role of Policy Transfer in Contemporary Policy-Making’, Governance, 13 (2000), 5–24

Radaelli Claudio M., ‘Policy Transfer in the European Union: Institutional Isomorphism as a Source of Legitimacy’, Governance, 13 (2000), 25–43

Stone Diane, ‘Non-Governmental Policy Transfer: The Strategies of Independent Policy Institutes’, Governance, 13 (2000), 45–70

25 Starr Harvey, ‘Democratic Dominoes: Diffusion Approaches to the Spread of Democracy in the International System’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 35 (1991), 356–81

26 See, for instance, Bennett, ‘What is Policy Convergence and What Causes It?’

27 Most Benjamin A. and Starr Harvey, ‘Diffusion, Reinforcement, Geopolitics, and the Spread of War’, American Political Science Review, 74 (1980), 932–46

28 Haas Peter M., ‘Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination’, International Organization, 46 (1992), 1–35

Checkel Jeffrey T., ‘Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe’, International Studies Quarterly, 43 (1999), 83–114

29 Milner Helen V., ‘Rationalizing Politics: The Emerging Synthesis of International, American, and Comparative Politics’, International Organization, 52 (1998), 759–86

30 Mintrom Michael, ‘Policy Entrepreneurs and the Diffusion of Innovation’, American Journal of Political Science, 41 (1997), 738–70

31 Walker, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’.

32 Collier and Messick, ‘Prerequisites versus Diffusion’.

33 Starr, ‘Democratic Dominoes’.

34 Haas, ‘Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination’.

35 Mintrom, ‘Policy Entrepreneurs and the Diffusion of Innovation’.

36 Collier and Messick, ‘Prerequisites versus Diffusion’.

37 Simmons Beth A. and Elkins Zachary, ‘The Globalization of Liberalization: Policy Diffusion in the International Political Economy’, American Political Science Review, 98 (2004), 171–89

Weyland Kurt G., ‘Theories of Policy Diffusion: Lessons from Latin American Pension Reform’, World Politics, 57 (2005), 262–95

38 Dolowitz David P., ‘British Employment Policy in the 1980s: Learning from the American Experience’, Governance, 10 (1997), 23–42

39 Starr Harvey and Most Benjamin A., ‘The Substance and Study of Borders in International Relations Research’, International Studies Quarterly, 20 (1976), 581–620

Starr Harvey and Most Benjamin A., ‘A Return Journey: Richardson, “Frontiers” and Wars in the 1946–1965 Era’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 22 (1978), 441–67

Starr Harvey and Most Benjamin A., ‘The Forms and Processes of War Diffusion: Research Update on Contagion in African Conflict’, Comparative Political Studies, 18 (1985), 206–27

Most Benjamin A. and Starr Harvey, ‘Theoretical and Logical Issues in the Study of International Diffusion’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2 (1990), 391–412

Davis William W. Duncan George T. and Siverson Randolph M., ‘The Dynamics of Warfare: 1816–1965’, American Journal of Political Science, 22 (1978), 772–92

Siverson Randolph M. and King Joel, ‘Attributes of National Alliance Membership and War Participation, 1815–1965’, American Journal of Political Science, 24 (1980), 1–15

Siverson Randolph M. and Starr Harvey, ‘Opportunity, Willingness, and the Diffusion of War’, American Political Science Review, 84 (1990), 47–67

40 Florini Ann, ‘The Evolution of International Norms’, International Studies Quarterly, 40 (1996), 363–89

Price Richard, ‘Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Land Mines’, International Organization, 52 (1998), 613–43

41 Simmons, Dobbin and Garrett ‘Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism’; Beth A. Simmons, Frank Dobbin and Geoffrey Garrett, eds, The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

42 Chwe Michael Suk-Young, ‘Communication and Coordination in Social Networks’, Review of Economic Studies, 67 (2000), 1–16

Young H. Peyton, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations in Social Networks’, in Lawrence E. Blume and Steven N. Durlauf, eds, The Economy as an Evolving Complex System, III: Current Perspectives and Future Directions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 267–81

Simonsen Ingve, ‘Diffusion and Networks: A Powerful Combination!’, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 357 (2005), 317–30

43 Dolowitz David P. and Marsh David, ‘Who Learns What from Whom? A Review of the Policy Transfer Literature’, Political Studies, 44 (1996), 343–57

44 Gilardi Fabrizio, ‘Who Learns from What in Policy Diffusion Processes?’ American Journal of Political Science, 54 (2010), 650–66

45 Mossberger Karen, ‘State-Federal Diffusion and Policy Learning: From Enterprise Zones to Empowerment Zones’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 29 (1999), 31–50

Grossback Lawrence J., Nicholson-Crotty Sean, and Peterson David A., ‘Ideology and Learning in Policy Diffusion’, American Politics Research, 67 (2004), 521–45

46 Volden, ‘The Politics of Competitive Federalism’; David Levi-Faur, ‘The Politics of Liberalisation: Privatisation and Regulation-for-Competition in Europe's and Latin America's Telecoms and Electricity Industries’, European Journal of Political Research, 42 (2004), 705–40

47 Ikenberry John G. and Kupchan Charles A., ‘Socialization and Hegemonic Power’, International Organization, 44 (1990), 283–315

Fordham Benjamin O. and Asal Victor, ‘Billiard Balls or Snowflakes? Major Power Prestige and the International Diffusion of Institutions and Practices’, International Studies Quarterly, 51 (2007), 31–52

48 Shipan Charles R. and Volden Craig, ‘Bottom-up Federalism: The Diffusion of Antismoking Policies from U.S. Cities to States’, American Journal of Political Science, 50 (2006), 825–43

Huber John D. and Shipan Charles R., Deliberate Discretion? The Institutional Foundation of Bureaucratic Autonomy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

49 See, for example, Volden, ‘States as Policy Laboratories’.

50 Weyland, ‘Theories of Policy Diffusion’.

51 Pacheco Juliana, ‘The Social Contagion Model: Exploring the Role of Public Opinion on the Diffusion of Anti-Smoking Legislation across the American States’, Journal of Politics, 74 (2012), 187–202

52 Collier and Messick, ‘Prerequisites versus Diffusion’.

53 Drezner Daniel W., ‘Globalization, Harmonization, and Competition: The Different Pathways to Policy Convergence’, Journal of European Public Policy, 12 (2005), 841–59

54 Baybeck, Berry and Siegel, ‘A Strategic Theory of Policy Diffusion via Intergovernmental Competition’.

55 Adler Emanuel, ‘The Emergence of Cooperation: National Epistemic Communities and the International Evolution of the Idea of Nuclear Arms Control’, International Organization, 46 (1992), 101–46

56 Welch Susan and Thompson Kay, ‘The Impact of Federal Incentives on State Policy Innovation’, American Journal of Political Science, 24 (1980), 715–29

57 Drezner, ‘Globalization, Harmonization, and Competition’.

58 See, for example, Mintrom, ‘Policy Entrepreneurs and the Diffusion of Innovation’; Shipan and Volden, ‘Bottom-up Federalism’.

59 Boeckelman Keith, ‘The Influence of States on Federal Policy Adoptions’, Policy Studies Journal, 20 (1992), 365–75

60 See, for instance, Radaelli, ‘Policy Transfer in the European Union’.

61 Skocpol Theda, Abend-Wein Marjorie Howard Christopher and Lehmann Susan Goodrich, ‘Women's Associations and the Enactment of Mothers’ Pensions in the United States’, American Political Science Review, 87 (1993), 686–701

Mintrom, ‘Policy Entrepreneurs and the Diffusion of Innovation’; Steven J. Balla, ‘Interstate Professional Associations and the Diffusion of Policy Innovations’, American Politics Research, 29 (2001), 221–45

62 Haas, ‘Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination’.

63 Stone Diane, ‘Transfer Agents and Global Networks in the “Transnationalization” of Policy’, Journal of European Public Policy, 11 (2004), 545–66

64 See, for instance, Dolowitz, ‘British Employment Policy in the 1980s’.

65 Pérez-Armendáriz Clarisa and Crow David, ‘Do Migrants Remit Democracy? International Migration, Political Beliefs, and Behavior in Mexico’, Comparative Political Studies, 43 (2010), 119–48

66 Brooks Sarah M., ‘Interdependent and Domestic Foundations of Policy Change: The Diffusion of Pension Privatization around the World’, International Studies Quarterly, 49 (2005), 273–94

Ward Hugh and Cao Xun, ‘Domestic and International Influences on Green Taxation’, Comparative Political Studies (forthcoming)

Katharina Füglister, ‘Where Does Learning Take Place? The Role of Intergovernmental Cooperation in Policy Diffusion’, European Journal of Political Research, 51 (2012), 316–49

67 Collier and Messick, ‘Prerequisites versus Diffusion’; David Klingman, ‘Temporal and Spatial Diffusion in the Comparative-Analysis of Social-Change’, American Political Science Review, 74 (1980), 123–37

68 See, for example, Berry and Berry, ‘State Lottery Adoptions as Policy Innovations’.

69 Everett Rogers, The Diffusion of Innovations, 5th edn (New York: The Free Press, 2003)

70 Hill Stuart and Rothchild Donald, ‘The Contagion of Political Conflict in Africa and the World’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 30 (1986), 716–35

Li Richard P. Y. and Thompson William R., ‘The “Coup Contagion” Hypothesis’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 14 (1975), 63–88

71 Starr, ‘Democratic Dominoes’; Daniel Brinks and Michael Coppedge, ‘Diffusion is No Illusion: Neighbor Emulation in the Third Wave of Democracy’, Comparative Political Studies, 39 (2006), 463–89

72 Elkins Zachary, ‘Diffusion and the Constitutionalization of Europe’, Comparative Political Studies, 43 (2010), 969–99

Frederickson H. George Johnson Gary Alan and Wood Curtis, ‘The Changing Structure of American Cities: A Study of the Diffusion of Innovation’, Public Administration Review, 64 (2004), 320–30

Gilardi Fabrizio, Delegation in the Regulatory State (Cheltenham, Glos.: Edward Elgar, 2008)

Finnemore Martha, ‘International Organizations as Teachers of Norms: The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and Science Policy’, International Organization, 47 (1993), 565–97

Price Richard, ‘Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Land Mines’, International Organization, 52 (1998), 613–43

73 Kingdon John, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, 1995)

74 But see Karch, Democratic Laboratories.

75 Berry and Berry, ‘State Lottery Adoptions as Policy Innovations’.

76 True Jacqui and Mintrom Michael, ‘Transnational Networks of Policy Diffusion: The Case of Gender Mainstreaming’, International Studies Quarterly, 45 (2001), 27–57

77 Prakash and Potoski, ‘Racing to the Bottom?’

78 Boehmke Frederick J. and Witmer Richard, ‘Disentangling Diffusion: The Effects of Social Learning and Economic Competition on State Policy Innovation and Expansion’, Political Research Quarterly, 57 (2004), 39–51

79 See, for example, Glick and Hays, ‘Innovation and Reinvention in State Policymaking’.

80 Hays Scott P., ‘Patterns of Reinvention: The Nature of Evolution During Policy Diffusion’, Policy Studies Journal, 24 (1996), 551–66

81 See, for instance, Volden, ‘States as Policy Laboratories’.

82 Walker, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’; Gray, ‘Innovation in the States’.

83 Makse Todd and Volden Craig, ‘The Role of Policy Attributes in the Diffusion of Innovations’, Journal of Politics, 73 (2011), 108–24

Nicholson-Crotty Sean, ‘The Politics of Diffusion: Public Policy in the American States’, Journal of Politics, 71 (2009), 192–205

84 These four may not be exhaustive. We have a lively ongoing debate among coauthors, for example, about whether ‘imitation’ (Shipan and Volden, ‘The Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion’) is simply a combination of socialization and learning or whether it contains processes orthogonal to those factors. Here we treat it as the former.

85 Our list of four mechanisms arises from a comprehensive reading of diffusion scholarship across the AP, CP and IR subfields. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it closely resembles the lists of Simmons, Dobbin and Garrett (‘Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism’), studying the international diffusion of liberalism, and of Shipan and Volden (‘The Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion’), studying diffusion in American politics. One main noteworthy difference is our inclusion of ‘socialization’, instead of earlier authors’ ‘emulation’ or ‘imitation’.

86 Louis Dembitz Brandeis, ‘Dissenting Opinion’, New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932).

87 Boehmke and Witmer, ‘Disentangling Diffusion’; William D. Berry and Brady Baybeck, ‘Using Geographic Information Systems to Study Interstate Competition’, American Political Science Review, 99 (2005), 505–19

88 Volden, ‘States as Policy Laboratories’; Covadonga Meseguer, ‘Rational Learning and Bounded Learning in the Diffusion of Policy Innovations’, Rationality and Society, 18 (2006), 35–66

Gilardi Fabrizio Füglister Katharina and Luyet Stephane, ‘Learning from Others: The Diffusion of Hospital Financing Reforms in OECD Countries’, Comparative Political Studies, 42 (2009), 549–73

89 Gilardi, ‘Who Learns from What in Policy Diffusion Processes?’

90 See, for example, Most and Starr, ‘Diffusion, Reinforcement, Geopolitics, and the Spread of War’.

91 Franzese and Hays, ‘Strategic Interaction among EU Governments in Active Labor Market Policy-Making’.

92 Sharman J. C., ‘Dysfunctional Policy Transfer in National Tax Blacklists’, Governance, 23 (2010), 623–39

Soule Sarah A., ‘The Diffusion of an Unsuccessful Innovation’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 566 (1999), 120–31

93 Mooney Christopher Z., ‘Modeling Regional Effects on State Policy Diffusion’, Political Research Quarterly, 54 (2001), 103–24

94 Tiebout Charles M., ‘A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures’, Journal of Political Economy, 64 (1956), 416–24

95 Conybeare John, ‘Trade Wars: A Comparative Study of Anglo-Hanse, Franco-Italian, and Hawley-Smoot Conflicts’, in K. Oye, ed., Cooperation under Anarchy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986)

96 Elkins Zachary Guzman Andrew T. and Simmons Beth A., ‘Competing for Capital: The Diffusion of Bilateral Investment Treaties, 1960–2000’, International Organization, 60 (2006), 811–46

97 Peterson Paul E. and Rom Mark C., Welfare Magnets: A New Case for a National Standard (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1990)

Volden, ‘The Politics of Competitive Federalism’; Michael A. Bailey and Mark C. Rom, ‘A Wider Race? Interstate Competition Across Health and Welfare Programs’, Journal of Politics, 66 (2004), 326–47

98 Baybeck, Berry, and Siegel, ‘A Strategic Theory of Policy Diffusion via Intergovernmental Competition’.

99 Walker Jack L., ‘Comment: Problems in Research on the Diffusion of Policy Innovations’, American Political Science Review, 67 (1973), 1186–91

Lisa L. Martin, ‘The Impact of Federal Incentives on State Policy Innovation’; Mahalley D. Allen, Carrie A. Pettus and Donald P. Haider-Markel, ‘Making the National Local: Specifying the Conditions for National Government Influence on State Policymaking’, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 4 (2004), 318–44

Karch Andrew, ‘National Intervention and the Diffusion of Policy Innovations’, American Politics Research, 34 (2006), 403–26

100 Schelling Thomas C., The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960)

101 See, for example, Drezner, ‘Globalization, Harmonization, and Competition’.

102 Baldwin David A., Economic Statecraft (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985)

Hufbauer Gary Clyde Schott Jeffrey and Elliott Kimberly Ann, Economic Sanctions Reconsidered (Washington, D.C.: Peterson Institute, 1990)

103 Martin Lisa L., ‘Interests, Power, and Multilateralism’, International Organization, 46 (1992), 765–92

104 Checkel Jeffrey T., ‘International Institutions and Socialization in Europe: Introduction and Framework’, International Organization, 59 (2005), 801–27

105 Nye Joseph S., Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Book Group, 2004)

106 Walker, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’.

107 Collier and Messick, ‘Prerequisites versus Diffusion’.

108 Wendt Alexander, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

109 Haas, ‘Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination’; Adler, ‘The Emergence of Cooperation: National Epistemic Communities and the International Evolution of the Idea of Nuclear Arms Control’.

110 Acharya, ‘How Ideas Spread’.

111 See, for example, Dolowitz, ‘British Employment Policy in the 1980s’.

112 See, for instance, Martha Finnemore, ‘International Organizations as Teachers of Norms’; Füglister, ‘Where Does Learning Take Place?’.

113 Case Anne C., Hines James R. Jr. and Rosen Harvey S., ‘Budget Spillovers and Fiscal Policy Interdependence: Evidence from the States’, Journal of Public Economics, 52 (1993), 285–307

114 Grossback, Nicholson-Crotty, and Peterson, ‘Ideology and Learning in Policy Diffusion’.

115 Volden, ‘States as Policy Laboratories’.

116 Simmons and Elkins, ‘The Globalization of Liberalization’.

117 Berry Frances Stokes, ‘Sizing Up State Policy Innovation Research’, Policy Studies Journal, 22 (1994), 442–56

Volden Craig Ting Michael M. and Carpenter Daniel P., ‘A Formal Model of Learning and Policy Diffusion’, American Political Science Review, 102 (2008), 319–32

118 Leichter Howard M., ‘The Patterns and Origins of Policy Diffusion: The Case of the Commonwealth’, Comparative Politics, 1 (1983), 223–33

119 Boehmke and Witmer, ‘Disentangling Diffusion’.

120 Shipan Charles R. and Volden Craig, ‘The Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion’, American Journal of Political Science, 52 (2008), 840–57

121 Berry and Baybeck, ‘Using Geographic Information Systems to Study Interstate Competition’.

122 See, for example, Cao, ‘Networks as Channels of Policy Diffusion’.

123 Abrahamson Eric and Rosenkopf Lori, ‘Institutional and Competitive Bandwagons: Using Mathematical Modeling as a Tool to Explore Innovation Diffusion’, Academy of Management Review, 18 (1993), 487–517

Haunschild R. Pamela and Miner Anne S., ‘Modes of Interorganizational Imitation: The Effects of Outcome Salience and Uncertainty’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 42 (1997), 472–500

124 See, for instance, Weyland, Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion.

125 See, for example, Finnemore and Sikkink, ‘International Norm Dynamics and Political Change’.

126 See, for example, Weyland, Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion.

127 For example, the work of Shipan and Volden (‘Bottom-up Federalism’) has normative implications for public health advocates, who have long argued about whether to target smoking at the state or local levels. Their analysis demonstrates the conditions under which such advocates should pursue each strategy.

128 Such disparate conversations are by no means solely caused by subfield divides. For example, early works in the AP literature were in many ways talking past one another, with some focused on the spread of policies (see, for instance, Gray, ‘Innovation in the States’) and others interested in the innovativeness of states as judged by when they adopted such policies (see, for example, Walker, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’).

129 Füglister, ‘Where Does Learning Take Place?’

130 Kelemen R. Daniel and Sibbitt Eric C., ‘The Globalization of American Law’, International Organization, 58 (2004), 103–36

131 Shipan and Volden, ‘Bottom-up Federalism’.

132 Milner Helen V., ‘The Digital Divide: The Role of Political Institutions in Technology Diffusion’, Comparative Political Studies, 39 (2006), 176–99

133 Checkel, ‘Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe’.

134 Neumayer Eric and Plümper Thomas, ‘Conditional Spatial Policy Dependence: Theory and Model Specification’, Comparative Political Studies, 45 (2012), 819–49

135 Crain Robert L., ‘Fluoridation: Diffusion of an Innovation among Cities’, Social Forces, 44 (1966), 467–76

136 See, for example, Balla, ‘Interstate Professional Associations and the Diffusion of Policy Innovations’; Mintrom, ‘Policy Entrepreneurs and the Diffusion of Innovation’; Skocpol, Abend-Wein, Howard and Lehmann, ‘Women's Associations and the Enactment of Mothers’ Pensions in the United States’.

137 Stone, ‘Learning Lessons and Transferring Policy across Time, Space and Disciplines’.

138 Bailey and Rom, ‘A Wider Race?’

139 Prakash and Potoski, ‘Racing to the Bottom?’ Zeng and Eastin, ‘International Economic Integration and Environmental Protection’.

140 Zeng and Eastin, ‘International Economic Integration and Environmental Protection’; Finnemore, ‘International Organizations as Teachers of Norms’.

141 Drezner, ‘Globalization, Harmonization, and Competition’. The nature of the diffusing policies themselves also may influence how policy diffusion comes about. Whether policies are observable, whether they easily can be tried and abandoned, and their degree of complexity may affect not only their speed of adoption but also the reliance of policy makers on particular diffusion mechanisms (see, for example, Rogers, The Diffusion of Innovations; Boushey, Policy Diffusion Dynamics in America; Makse and Volden, ‘The Role of Policy Attributes in the Diffusion of Innovations’). The level of controversy surrounding new policy ideas influences diffusion (see, for instance, Scott P. Hays, ‘Patterns of Reinvention: The Nature of Evolution during Policy Diffusion’, Policy Studies Journal, 24 (1996), 551–66), perhaps leading to higher standards for judging successes elsewhere or to a stronger resistance to coercion or socialization. Therefore, although scholars have shown policy diffusion to be relevant across numerous areas of policy adoption (see, for example, Christopher Z. Mooney and Mei-Hsien Lee, ‘Legislative Morality in the American States: The Case of Pre-Roe Abortion Regulation Reform’, American Journal of Political Science, 39 (1995), 599–627), the nature of that diffusion may depend fundamentally on the type of policy that is spreading.

142 Walker, ‘The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States’.

143 Bradley Canon and Lawrence Baum, ‘Patterns of Adoption of Tort Law Innovations: An Application of Diffusion Theory to Judicial Doctrines’, American Political Science Review, 75 (1981), 975–87.

144 See, for example, Gray, ‘Innovation in the States’.

145 However, see Boushey, Policy Diffusion Dynamics in America.

146 Welch and Thompson, ‘The Impact of Federal Incentives on State Policy Innovation’; Mooney, ‘Modeling Regional Effects on State Policy Diffusion’; Gilardi, Füglister and Luyet, ‘Learning from Others’.

147 Mintrom Michael and Vergari Sandra, ‘Policy Networks and Innovation Diffusion: The Case of State Education Reforms’, Journal of Politics, 60 (1998), 126–48

148 Braun Dietmar and Gilardi Fabrizio, ‘Taking “Galton's Problem” Seriously: Towards a Theory of Policy Diffusion’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 18 (2006), 298–322

149 Volden, Ting and Carpenter, ‘A Formal Model of Learning and Policy Diffusion’.

150 We are also hopeful that the current trend of increasing coauthorships and collaborations will help scholars overcome interdisciplinary and subfield barriers, in ways already becoming apparent between sociology and political science (see, for instance, Simmons, Dobbin and Garrett, ‘Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism’, Simmons, Dobbin and Garrett, eds, The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy; Givan, Soule and Roberts, eds, The Diffusion of Social Movements).

* Department of History and Politics, Drexel University (email: ); Department of Political Science, University of Michigan (email: ); and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia (email: ), respectively. The authors thank Rachel Schneider and Mike Zilis for valuable research assistance, Derek Stafford for helpful assistance with network analyses, and participants at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, Mass., 2008, for useful suggestions. The article has gained immensely from generous comments made by Jenna Bednar, Bill Berry, Fred Boehmke, Sarah Brooks, Claire Dunlop, Lorraine Eden, Rob Franzese, Katharina Füglister, Fabrizio Gilardi, Virginia Gray, Don Haider-Markel, Andrew Karch, David Levi-Faur, Covadonga Meseguer, William Minozzi, Chris Mooney, Ben Noble, Aseem Prakash, Claudio Radaelli, Harvey Starr, Diane Stone, Hugh Ward, Kurt Weyland, Alan Wiseman and the anonymous reviewers.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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