Innovation and diffusion models in policy research
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Innovation and Diffusion Models in Policy Research. Dr. Khaled F. Sherif. Innovation. Innovation – a program that is new to the government adopting it. Adoption of a new program by a state is explained by internal determinants and diffusion models.

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Innovation

  • Innovation – a program that is new to the government adopting it.

  • Adoption of a new program by a state is explained by internal determinants and diffusion models.

  • Internal determinants models postulate that the factors leading a jurisdiction to innovate are political, economic, or social characteristics internal to the state.

  • Diffusion models are inherently intergovernmental: they view state adoptions of policies as emulations of previous adoptions by other states.


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Diffusion Models

Diffusion – the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system

States emulate each other for one of these basic reasons:

  • States learn from one another as they borrow innovations perceived as successful elsewhere;

  • States compete with each other;

  • Public officials can experience public pressure from their own citizens to adopt policies initiated in other states.


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National Interaction Model

  • It assumes a national communication network among state officials regarding public sector programs, in which officials learn about programs from their peers in other states.

  • It is predicted that the probability that a state will adopt a program is proportional to the number of interactions its officials have had with officials of already adopting states.


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The Regional Diffusion Model

  • Neighbor models– assume that states are influenced primarily by those states with which they share a boarder;

  • Fixed-region models– assume that the nation is divided into multiple regions and that states tend to emulate the policies of other states within the same region.


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Leader - Laggard Models

  • Assume that certain states are pioneers in the adoption of a policy, and that other states emulate these leaders.

  • Leader-laggard models assume that states emulate other states in a learning process rather than because of interstate competition or public pressure.

  • These models often flawed by their failure to identify a priory: (a) the states that are expected to be pioneers; and (b) the predicted order of adoption of the states that are expected to follow.


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Vertical Influence Models

  • Sees states as emulating not the policies of other states – as part of a horizontal diffusion process – but the policies of the national government.

  • In some cases, the national government can simply mandate certain activities by states (e.g., the federal motor voter bill that requires states to allow people to vote at the same time they register their vehicle)


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Internal Determinants Models

  • Presume that the factors causing a state to adopt a new program or policy are political, economic, and social characteristics of the state. Thus, these models preclude diffusion effects in which a state is influenced by the actions of other states or the national government.

  • Such models assume that once a state is aware of the policy, it is internal characteristics of the state that determine if and when an adoption will occur.


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Internal Determinants Models (cont.)

  • L. Mohr proposed that the probability that an organization will innovate is inversely related to the strength of the obstacles to innovation and is directly related to:

    • The motivation to innovate, and

    • The availability of (financial) resources for overcoming the obstacles


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Conclusion

  • Since 1960s, social scientists have proposed numerous theories to explain policy adoption by states.

  • In isolation, these theories are oversimplified models o policy innovation.

  • The empirical research has concluded that the value of these model is questionable.

  • However, recent studies have developed models that allow for the simultaneous impacts of internal political, economic and social characteristics of states as well as multiple channels of regional and national cross-state influence.


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