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State Policy Innovativeness Revisited

How do the American states vary in their propensity for innovativeness, or their willingness to adopt new policies sooner or later relative to other states? Most studies today use event history analysis (EHA) to focus almost exclusively on one policy area at a time at the expense of a broader understanding of innovativeness as a characteristic of states. To return to the concept of innovativeness more broadly, our study revisits and updates the original approach taken by Walker by updating his average innovation scores with new data covering more than 180 different policies. We use these data to construct a new, dynamic measure of innovativeness that addresses biases and shortcomings in the original measure and we provide measures of uncertainty for both. These new scores build on the logic of EHA to address issues such as right-censoring and to facilitate measuring changes in innovativeness over time. We then compare the two measures of innovativeness and evaluate differences across states, spatial patterns, and changes in innovativeness over time.