State and local governments are easily stereotyped as bureaucratic and slow-moving, particularly since the recession and its aftermath forced many states to slash budgets and reduce staff. And yet, even in the aftermath of a recession, some states implement new policies much faster than others.
Frederick Boehmke, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, decided to measure state innovation through policy analysis, defining innovative states as those that adopted policies before any other. He and his co-author, Paul Skinner, compiled a database of 189 policies, such as seat belt requirements, adopted by states between the years 1912 and 2009, and measured the rate at which each state adopted these measures.
Professors Boehmke and Skinner recently published their findings in State Politics & Policy Quarterly. They declared California the most innovative state and Mississippi as the least innovative. Boehmke discusses the study, and what leads to state innovation.