The Diffusion of Morality Policies

Cruz-Aceves, Victor David

The field of morality policy lacks comparative analyses across laws that vary in the degree to which they reflect characteristics of morality policy. This study takes state-level Same Sex Marriage Bans, Medical Marijuana Laws and Anti-Obesity legislation in the USA as cases with varying levels of morality policy’s characteristics and investigates the way their diffusion differs. I explain differences in the magnitude of learning-driven diffusion, controlling for theoretically relevant domestic factors, through Event History Analysis and Seemingly Unrelated Estimations. I find that the magnitude of diffusion increases as policies reflect less characteristics of morality policy. Moreover, based on the results I infer that policies with high moral content diffuse preceded by a bounded-learning process, information about which is heavily drawn from polities with similar moral attributes; learning about legislation with moderate and minimal characteristics of morality policy not only occurs selectively, but rather, information is retrieved from ideologically dissimilar polities, too.

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Cruz-Aceves, Victor: The Diffusion of Morality Policies.

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