FOSTER, STEPHEN K.; PHD
                         THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, 1983

                         POLITICAL SCIENCE, GENERAL (0615)

                         A number of social, economic and political characteristics of the American states were examined to
                         determine which factors contribute to innovation in public policy. Growth management legislation was
                         selected as a policy issue area for testing alternative theoretical explanations of innovation. Four
                         dimensions of growth management were considered: population stabilization, land use, economic
                         development, and environmental resource management. Policy innovation in the states was measured
                         by an index, developed from each state's record in adopting innovative growth management programs.
                         Only programs adopted during a ten-year period between 1965 and 1975 were examined. The study
                         does not address the diffusion process; rather, the focus is strictly on early adopters of selected growth
                         management programs. Major theoretically explanations of policy innovation were tested including: (1)
                         the propensity to be innovative as measured by past trends; (2) the ability to innovate as measured by
                         economic and fiscal resources; (3) political characteristics such as party competition and voter
                         participation rates; and (4) various growth pressures stemming from economic and demographic
                         changes. The findings reveal economic and demographic change to be significant determinants of
                         growth management innovation in the states. Fiscal ability and political characteristics have little
                         relationship to policy innovation. Policy innovativeness as a general trait among particular states is
                         rejected in favor of an evolving pattern of innovation in which new leaders are constantly emerging and
                         old ones receding. The results have broader implications for change, especially economic and
                         demographic change, as a motivating force in American politics.


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