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Gendered diffusion on gendered issues: the case of human trafficking

  • Vanessa Bouché (a1) and Dana E. Wittmer (a2)

This study aims to identify those factors that impact the comprehensiveness of state human trafficking legislation. To do so, we propose independent effects of policy diffusion and the percentage of females in a state legislature. Building on this framework, we then suggest a process of gendered diffusion, whereby female state legislators represent a unique diffusion network for “women’s interest” issues both within their own legislature, as well as across state networks. Taken together, this paper suggests that, for certain types of new issue areas, the demographic composition of state legislative chambers and the policy diffusion process are conditional on one another. This finding extends the bodies of scholarship concerning descriptive representation and policy diffusion, and presents a novel way to look at the policy-making process.

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