Innovation and Diffusion Models in Policy Research
This chapter reviews the dominant theories of government innovation in the public policy literature. It shows that these theories borrow heavily from others developed to explain innovative behavior by individuals: teachers using a new method of instruction, farmers adopting hybrid seeds and fertilizers, and consumers purchasing new products. The chapter explores that theories of government innovation share many commonalities with models that seek to explain organizational innovation. It deals with separate discussions of the central features of internal determinants and diffusion explanations for the adoption of a policy. The chapter explains three models that dominated early scholarship on policy innovation such as the national interaction model, the regional diffusion model and the leader-laggard model. It presents a model of American state lottery adoptions reflecting the simultaneous effects of both internal determinants and policy diffusion on state adoption behavior and employed event history analysis to test their model.