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Theoretical Perspectives on the Diffusion of Innovations

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Abstract:

What accounts for the waves of policy diffusion that increasingly sweep across regions of the world? Why do many diverse countries adopt similar changes? Based on evidence from the spread of Chilean-style pension privatization in Latin America, this paper assesses the relative merit of four competing theoretical explanations that scholars of diffusion have proposed. As the mechanism driving the spread of innovations, these approaches emphasize external pressures, emanating especially from international financial institutions; the quest for symbolic or normative legitimacy; rational learning and cost-benefit calculation; and cognitive shortcuts and heuristics, respectively. The paper assesses which one of these frameworks can best account for the three distinctive features of diffusion, namely, its wave-like temporal pattern; its geographical clustering; and the spread of similarity amid diversity. Drawing on pattern matching and process tracing, the paper concludes that the cognitive-psychological framework offers a particularly persuasive account.

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diffus (97), polici (91), countri (79), innov (78), decis (66), model (63), ration (62), reform (53), heurist (53), spread (49), adopt (45), thus (44), pension (43), approach (43), framework (42), polit (42), learn (42), privat (41), make (41), maker (40), 2002 (38),

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diffusion policy
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Weyland, Kurt. "Theoretical Perspectives on the Diffusion of Innovations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64317_index.html>

APA Citation:

Weyland, K. , 2003-08-27 "Theoretical Perspectives on the Diffusion of Innovations" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Philadelphia, PA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64317_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: What accounts for the waves of policy diffusion that increasingly sweep across regions of the world? Why do many diverse countries adopt similar changes? Based on evidence from the spread of Chilean-style pension privatization in Latin America, this paper assesses the relative merit of four competing theoretical explanations that scholars of diffusion have proposed. As the mechanism driving the spread of innovations, these approaches emphasize external pressures, emanating especially from international financial institutions; the quest for symbolic or normative legitimacy; rational learning and cost-benefit calculation; and cognitive shortcuts and heuristics, respectively. The paper assesses which one of these frameworks can best account for the three distinctive features of diffusion, namely, its wave-like temporal pattern; its geographical clustering; and the spread of similarity amid diversity. Drawing on pattern matching and process tracing, the paper concludes that the cognitive-psychological framework offers a particularly persuasive account.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 28
Word count: 10592
Text sample:
THEORIES OF POLICY DIFFUSION: AN ASSESSMENT Paper for panel 16-5 on “The Diffusion of Policy Innovations: Theoretical Perspectives” 99th Annual Meeting American Political Science Association Philadelphia PA August 28-31 2003 Kurt Weyland Department of Government Burdine Hall 536 University of Texas at Austin Austin TX 78712-1087 ph.: (512) 232-7253 Kweyland@mail.la.utexas.edu Theories of Policy Diffusion: An Assessment What accounts for the waves of policy diffusion that increasingly sweep across regions of the world? Why do many diverse countries adopt similar
sequence of initial enthusiasm and later disappointment occurred among former Communist countries where the World Bank initially embraced Czech voucher privatization wholeheartedly and pushed it on other nations but later recognized its serious flaws (Appel 2002: 2-3; for criticism of the voucher approach from inside the World Bank see Ellerman 1998). 15 The other leading approach institutionalism cannot offer a satisfactory explanation of diffusion because it 25 focuses on actors’ institutionally defined capacities and the constraints they face but--unless


Similar Titles:
Rational and Bounded Learning in the Diffusion of Policy Innovations

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The Diffusion of Innovations: How Cognitive Heuristics Shaped Bolivia's Pension Reform


 
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