Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias

Andrew Karch, Sean C. Nicholson-Crotty, Neal D. Woods, Ann O.M. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Existing research on policy diffusion focuses almost exclusively on “successes” where many jurisdictions adopted the policy or policies under examination. Some have speculated that this “pro-innovation bias” compromises scholars’ ability to draw valid inferences about the factors that influence the diffusion process. We argue that the study of interstate compacts in the United States provides an analytic opportunity to assess whether these concerns are warranted because it allows us to examine an entire universe of cases with unusually wide variability in their adoption patterns. Based on a pooled event history analysis of the interstate compacts that are open to all fifty states, we conclude that the tendency to limit diffusion research to widely adopted policies affects the results of previous studies. Specifically, it appears to lead scholars to systematically overestimate the impact of geographic diffusion pressures and policy attributes, and to underestimate the importance of professional associations and the opportunity to learn from previous adoptions. In sum, the longstanding concerns about a pro-innovation bias in diffusion research seem to be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Fingerprint

diffusion research
innovation
trend
professional association
compromise
jurisdiction
examination
event
ability

Keywords

  • complexity
  • interstate compacts
  • policy diffusion
  • professional associations
  • selection bias
  • state politics

Cite this

Karch, A., Nicholson-Crotty, S. C., Woods, N. D., & Bowman, A. O. M. (2016). Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias. Political Research Quarterly, 69(1), 83-95. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912915622289

Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias. / Karch, Andrew; Nicholson-Crotty, Sean C.; Woods, Neal D.; Bowman, Ann O.M.

In: Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1, 01.03.2016, p. 83-95.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Karch, A, Nicholson-Crotty, SC, Woods, ND & Bowman, AOM 2016, 'Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias', Political Research Quarterly, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 83-95. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912915622289
Karch, Andrew ; Nicholson-Crotty, Sean C. ; Woods, Neal D. ; Bowman, Ann O.M. / Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias. In: Political Research Quarterly. 2016 ; Vol. 69, No. 1. pp. 83-95.
@article{eaae8d5e3deb493883276c7062b00c3a,
title = "Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias",
abstract = "Existing research on policy diffusion focuses almost exclusively on “successes” where many jurisdictions adopted the policy or policies under examination. Some have speculated that this “pro-innovation bias” compromises scholars’ ability to draw valid inferences about the factors that influence the diffusion process. We argue that the study of interstate compacts in the United States provides an analytic opportunity to assess whether these concerns are warranted because it allows us to examine an entire universe of cases with unusually wide variability in their adoption patterns. Based on a pooled event history analysis of the interstate compacts that are open to all fifty states, we conclude that the tendency to limit diffusion research to widely adopted policies affects the results of previous studies. Specifically, it appears to lead scholars to systematically overestimate the impact of geographic diffusion pressures and policy attributes, and to underestimate the importance of professional associations and the opportunity to learn from previous adoptions. In sum, the longstanding concerns about a pro-innovation bias in diffusion research seem to be warranted.",
keywords = "complexity, interstate compacts, policy diffusion, professional associations, selection bias, state politics",
author = "Andrew Karch and Nicholson-Crotty, {Sean C.} and Woods, {Neal D.} and Bowman, {Ann O.M.}",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1065912915622289",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "69",
pages = "83--95",
journal = "Political Research Quarterly",
issn = "1065-9129",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Policy Diffusion and the Pro-innovation Bias

AU - Karch, Andrew

AU - Nicholson-Crotty, Sean C.

AU - Woods, Neal D.

AU - Bowman, Ann O.M.

PY - 2016/3/1

Y1 - 2016/3/1

N2 - Existing research on policy diffusion focuses almost exclusively on “successes” where many jurisdictions adopted the policy or policies under examination. Some have speculated that this “pro-innovation bias” compromises scholars’ ability to draw valid inferences about the factors that influence the diffusion process. We argue that the study of interstate compacts in the United States provides an analytic opportunity to assess whether these concerns are warranted because it allows us to examine an entire universe of cases with unusually wide variability in their adoption patterns. Based on a pooled event history analysis of the interstate compacts that are open to all fifty states, we conclude that the tendency to limit diffusion research to widely adopted policies affects the results of previous studies. Specifically, it appears to lead scholars to systematically overestimate the impact of geographic diffusion pressures and policy attributes, and to underestimate the importance of professional associations and the opportunity to learn from previous adoptions. In sum, the longstanding concerns about a pro-innovation bias in diffusion research seem to be warranted.

AB - Existing research on policy diffusion focuses almost exclusively on “successes” where many jurisdictions adopted the policy or policies under examination. Some have speculated that this “pro-innovation bias” compromises scholars’ ability to draw valid inferences about the factors that influence the diffusion process. We argue that the study of interstate compacts in the United States provides an analytic opportunity to assess whether these concerns are warranted because it allows us to examine an entire universe of cases with unusually wide variability in their adoption patterns. Based on a pooled event history analysis of the interstate compacts that are open to all fifty states, we conclude that the tendency to limit diffusion research to widely adopted policies affects the results of previous studies. Specifically, it appears to lead scholars to systematically overestimate the impact of geographic diffusion pressures and policy attributes, and to underestimate the importance of professional associations and the opportunity to learn from previous adoptions. In sum, the longstanding concerns about a pro-innovation bias in diffusion research seem to be warranted.

KW - complexity

KW - interstate compacts

KW - policy diffusion

KW - professional associations

KW - selection bias

KW - state politics

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84957808269&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84957808269&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1065912915622289

DO - 10.1177/1065912915622289

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84957808269

VL - 69

SP - 83

EP - 95

JO - Political Research Quarterly

JF - Political Research Quarterly

SN - 1065-9129

IS - 1

ER -