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Mintrom: Policy entrepreneurs and the diffusion of innovation

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Mintrom. 1997. Policy entrepreneurs and the diffusion of innovation. American Journal of Political Science 41:738-770.


In addition to internal characteristics and diffusion (see Berry and Berry 1990), there needs to be a policy entrepreneur in a state advocating a new policy or it won't be adopted. Like Berry and Berry, Mintrom uses Event History Analysis (EHA).


Ys: Consideration (Y1) and approval (Y2) of school choice legislation from 1987-1992

X: Presence and intensity of entrepreneurial activity (based on surveys)

Controls: A whole bunch, designed to measure both internal characteristics and diffusion (following Berry and Berry).


Active policy entrepreneurs significantly increase the probability of consideration and adoption of school choice legislation (see tables 3 and 5).


  1. Entrepreneurs emerge when the government seems receptive
  2. By measuring entrepreneurs through surveys, there's a problem: We remember winners better than losers. Thus, people can name an entrepreneur better in a survey if the entrepreneur is more successful.

Research on similar subjects


Mintrom, Michael (author)American PoliticsEvent History AnalysisPolicy EntrepreneursState Politics (U.S.)Innovation and Diffusion

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