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The Diffusion of Innovations: A Theoretical Analysis

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Abstract:

This paper assesses how well four theoretical approaches--which emphasize external pressure, rational learning, cognitive heuristics, and symbolic imitation--can account for the diffusion of innovations across countries in its three distinctive characteristics, namely its wave-like character, its geographic concentration, and its creation of similarity amid diversity. The cognitive-psychological approach, which invokes the heuristics of availability, representativeness, and anchoring, emerges as most persuasive.

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polici (105), diffus (97), innov (91), countri (84), model (70), decis (68), ration (65), thus (55), reform (55), heurist (52), spread (47), approach (46), adopt (45), pension (45), make (44), polit (44), learn (43), framework (42), maker (42), world (40), privat (40),

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Keywords: diffusion, decision heuristics, social policy
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MLA Citation:

Weyland, Kurt. "The Diffusion of Innovations: A Theoretical Analysis" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65140_index.html>

APA Citation:

Weyland, K. , 2002-08-28 "The Diffusion of Innovations: A Theoretical Analysis" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65140_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
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Abstract: This paper assesses how well four theoretical approaches--which emphasize external pressure, rational learning, cognitive heuristics, and symbolic imitation--can account for the diffusion of innovations across countries in its three distinctive characteristics, namely its wave-like character, its geographic concentration, and its creation of similarity amid diversity. The cognitive-psychological approach, which invokes the heuristics of availability, representativeness, and anchoring, emerges as most persuasive.

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Associated Document Available Political Research Online

Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 34
Word count: 11558
Text sample:
THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS: A THEORETICAL ANALYSIS Paper for panel 5­8 on ``Prospect Theory in Political Science: Further Advances'' 97 th Annual Meeting American Political Science Association Boston August 29 ­ September 1 2002 Kurt Weyland Department of Government Burdine Hall 536 University of Texas at Austin Austin TX 78712­1087 ph.: (512) 232­7253 fax: (512) 471­1061 KWeyland@mail.la.utexas.edu 2 One of the most striking phenomena in the area of public policy are the waves of diffusion that sometimes sweep across
experts and public officials. 14 The same manic­depressive cycle of initial enthusiasm and later disappointment occurred in the area of privatization where the World Bank initially embraced the Czech voucher scheme wholeheartedly and pushed it on former Communist countries with all its means of influence but recognized in later years the serious flaws of this approach (Appel 2002: especially 2­3; for criticism of the voucher approach from inside the World Bank see e.g. Ellerman 1998). 15 The other leading


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Rational and Bounded Learning in the Diffusion of Policy Innovations

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