Policy Inventing and Borrowing among State Legislatures
By Srinivas C. Parinandi
Although a long literature has analyzed how policies diffuse or spread across the American states, scant attention has been given to how states invent or create original policy instead of borrowing existing policy from one another. In this article, I use state legislative policymaking with respect to renewable portfolio standards to examine when legislatures invent original policy instead of borrowing existing policy. I use a novel data set that includes the state adoption of hundreds of policy provisions, including their combinations, and I employ logistic pooled event history analysis to identify the determinants of inventing and borrowing. I find that government ideology largely predicts inventing, whereas electoral vulnerability predicts borrowing. The results suggest that ideologues spearhead invention and further suggest that democratic accountability works chiefly through promoting borrowing rather than blunting inventing.