RIDIR: Collaborative Research: DAPPR: Diffusion Analytics for Public Policy Research

Project: Research project

Project Details


Stability in social, technical, and financial systems, as well as the capacity of organizations to work across borders, requires consistency in public policy across jurisdictions. However, progress depends upon innovative policy solutions to society's problems. The transmission of laws and regulations across political boundaries averts a conflict between the incentives for innovation and consistency. The current project will offer a database that allows the tracking of the spread of policies through the US states. The database will be disseminated through project webpages. The web interface will also include advanced analytics that illuminate the pathways through which policies spread. Users will be able to download the data and software for their own custom analysis of policy transmission in the US states.

Policy diffusion has been a topic of focus across the social sciences for several decades, but due to limitations of data and computational technology, researchers have not taken a comprehensive look at patterns of diffusion across many different policies. The investigators propose to combine cutting-edge methods of text and network analysis to understand how policies, as represented in digitized text, spread through networks connecting the American states. The investigators will develop both data and computational methods that address the most pressing limitations to the study of policy diffusion networks. The project will result in two key contributions: (1) a comprehensive source of data with which to track the movement of policies from one state government to another, across three governing branches, and (2) a user-friendly, open source software package for understanding and visualizing diffusion networks from digitized records of policies. These resources will help researchers, public officials, advocacy groups, and other relevant stakeholders understand how to balance the competing goals of innovation and consistency in public policy.

Effective start/end date10/1/169/30/21


  • National Science Foundation: $142,425.00


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