Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Publication Title

American Politics Research

Volume

47

Issue

4

Pages

739-767

Abstract

Research on policy reinvention tends to focus on whether policies become more or less comprehensive over time while neglecting to explain copying policy language verbatim. We argue that the extent to which lawmakers reinvent policy depends on the resources available to them. Lawmakers serving in more professional state legislatures have greater capacity to reinvent policies. In contrast, lawmakers serving in less professional settings are more likely to copy policy language. As evidence, we gather bill texts of 12 policies that diffused across the 50 states between 1982 and 2014. Using cosine similarity scores to measure language copying, we find that less professional legislatures copy more text from previous adopters, and that the likeliest culprit is a lack of funding for staff assistance. The findings have implications for states’ ability to amend policies to suit their own citizens’ needs.

Comments

Author Posting © Sage Publishing, 2018. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the Sage Publishing for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in American Politics Research, Volume 47, Issue 4, 2018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1532673X18776628

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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