Clarifying the Measurement of Relative Ideology in Policy Diffusion Research

Victor D. Cruz-Aceves, Daniel J. Mallinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Research on policy diffusion has recently paid more attention to ideological patterns of policy adoption. Grossback, Nicholson-Crotty, and Peterson operationalized a measure of ideological diffusion; however, it has not been consistently calculated in subsequent studies. This is mainly due to difficulties in interpreting how to measure ideological distance based solely on the original article. Specifically, there are three factors that prevent common measurement of the concept: starting values, adoption ties, and weighting of recent adoptions. Recommendations are made for each of these. The purpose is to establish a consistent ideological distance measure. To illustrate, a replication of the original lottery diffusion model in the authors’ paper shows how the results change with different measurement choices. Consistently measuring this concept is important as scholars increasingly recognize that states do not always follow their geographic neighbors but increasingly their ideological “neighbors.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalState and Local Government Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations


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