Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-z9m8x Total loading time: 0.321 Render date: 2022-09-27T06:11:45.382Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Lobbying, learning and policy reinvention: an examination of the American States’ drunk driving laws

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2018

Jinhai Yu*
School of Public Economics and Administration, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China
Edward T. Jennings Jr
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky, USA
J. S. Butler
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, University of Kentucky, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Scholars have consistently shown that learning of successful policies in other states leads to higher likelihood of policy adoption. This study extends this finding two ways. First, policy learning can also lead to more comprehensive adoption of successful policies. Second, the effect of policy learning on policy comprehensiveness is conditional on lobbying by interest groups, an alternative source of information about policy success. To test these hypotheses, we conduct a directed dyad-year analysis using a dataset on American state drunk driving regulations from 1983 to 2000. The results show that more comprehensive policy adoption by states is positively related to policy success in other states when lobbying by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is relatively low. Moreover, lobbying by MADD increases policy comprehensiveness when policy success is relatively low. This study advances the literature by examining the conditional effects of lobbying on the relationship between policy learning and policy reinvention.

Research Article
© Cambridge University Press 2018

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Austen-Smith, D (1993) Information and Influence: Lobbying for Agendas and Votes. American Journal of Political Science 37(3): 799833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Austen-Smith, D (1995) Campaign Contributions and Access. American Political Science Review 89(3): 566581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Austen-Smith, D and John, RW (1994) Counteractive Lobbying. American Journal of Political Science 38(1): 2544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Balla, SJ (2001) Interstate Professional Associations and the Diffusion of Policy Innovations. American Politics Research 29(3): 221245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bennedsen, M and Sven, EF (2006) Informational Lobbying and Political Contributions. Journal of Public Economics 90(4): 631656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berry, WD, Ringquist, EJ, Fording, RC and Hanson, RL (1998) Measuring Citizen and Government Ideology in the American States, 1960–93. American Journal of Political Science 42(1): 327348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berry, WD, Fording, RC, Ringquist, EJ, Hanson, RL and Klarner, CE (2010) Measuring Citizen and Government Ideology in the US States: A Re-appraisal. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 10(2): 117135.Google Scholar
Boehmke, FJ (2009a) Policy Emulation or Policy Convergence? Potential Ambiguities in the Dyadic Event History Approach to State Policy Emulation. The Journal of Politics 71(3): 11251140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boehmke, FJ (2009b) Approaches to Modeling the Adoption and Diffusion of Policies with Multiple Components. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 9(2): pp. 229252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boushey, G (2010) Policy Diffusion Dynamics in America. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brambor, T, Clark, WR and Golder, M (2006) Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses. Political analysis 14(1): 6382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Butler, DM, Volden, C, Dynes, AM and Shor, B (2015) Ideology, Learning, and Policy Diffusion: Experimental Evidence. American Journal of Political Science 61(1): 4749.Google Scholar
Callander, S (2011) Searching for Good Policies. American Political Science Review 105(4): 643662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carley, S, Nicholson-Crotty, S and Miller, CJ (2016) Adoption, Reinvention and Amendment of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the American States. Journal of Public Policy 37(4), 128.Google Scholar
Clark, J (1985) Policy Diffusion and Program Scope: Research Directions. Publius: The Journal of Federalism 15(4): 6170.Google Scholar
Cotton, C (2012) Pay-to-Play Politics: Informational Lobbying and Contribution Limits When Money Buys Access. Journal of Public Economics 96(3): 369386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eisenberg, D (2003) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Policies Related to Drunk Driving. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 22(2): pp. 249274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fell, JC and Robert, BV (2006) Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): The First 25 Years. Traffic Injury Prevention 7(3): 195212.Google ScholarPubMed
Garrett, KN and Joshua, MJ (2015) Interest Group Influence in Policy Diffusion Networks. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 15(3): 387417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilardi, F (2010) Who Learns from What in Policy Diffusion Processes? American Journal of Political Science 54(3): 650666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilardi, F and Füglister, K (2008) Empirical Modeling of Policy Diffusion in Federal States: The Dyadic Approach. Swiss Political Science Review 14(3): 413450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilardi, F, Füglister, K and Luyet, S (2009) Learning from Others: The Diffusion of Hospital Financing Reforms in OECD Countries. Comparative Political Studies 42(4): 549573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glick, HR and Scott, PH (1991) Innovation and Reinvention in State Policymaking: Theory and the Evolution of Living Will Laws. The Journal of Politics 53(03): 835850.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gracey, KJ (2015) Mapping Geographical Variation in Denominational Adherence: Finding the Faithful and the Faithless.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA, 2–6 September.Google Scholar
Grasse, N and Heidbreder, B (2011) The Influence of Lobbying Activity in State Legislatures: Evidence from Wisconsin. Legislative Studies Quarterly 36(4): 567589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haider-Markel, DP (2001) Policy Diffusion as a Geographical Expansion of the Scope of Political Conflict: Same-Sex Marriage Bans in the 1990s. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 1(1): 526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hall, RL and Alan, VD (2006) Lobbying as Legislative Subsidy. American Political Science Review 100(1): 6984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hays, SP (1996a) Influences on Reinvention during the Diffusion of Innovations. Political research quarterly 49(3): 631650.Google Scholar
Hays, SP (1996b) Patterns of Reinvention. Policy Studies Journal 24(4): 551566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Karch, A (2007) Democratic Laboratories: Policy Diffusion among the American States. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, A-S and Jennings, E (2012) The Evolution of an Innovation: Variations in Medicaid Managed Care Program Extensiveness. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 37(5): 815849.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kreitzer, RJ (2015) Politics and Morality in State Abortion Policy. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 15(1): pp. 4166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langbein, LI and Mark, AL (1990) The Political Efficacy of Lobbying and Money: Gun Control in the US House, 1986. Legislative Studies Quarterly 15(3): 413440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lohmann, S (1995) Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying. Public Choice 85(3): 267284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Macinko, J and Silver, D (2015) Diffusion of Impaired Driving Laws among US States. American Journal of Public Health 105(9): 18931900.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Macinko, J, Silver, D, Bae, JY, Jimenez, G, Paul, M and Mueller, A (2014) The State Health Policy Research Dataset (SHEPRD): 1980-2010. ICPSR34789-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-09-24.Google Scholar
Marshall, M and Oleson, A (1994) In the Pink: MADD and Public Health Policy in the 1990s. Journal of Public Health Policy 15(1): 5470.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mero, JR (2009) Under the Influence: Has MADD’s Policy Agenda Limited the Elks’ Capability to Create Social Capital?. Dissertation: Syracuse University.Google Scholar
Mooney, CZ and Lee, M-H (1999) Morality Policy Reinvention: State Death Penalties. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 566(1): 8092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2014) “Drivers Involved in Fatal Traffic Crashes By State and Their BAC.”, (March, 2015).Google Scholar
Nicholson-Crotty, S and Carley, S (2016) Effectiveness, Implementation, and Policy Diffusion: Or “Can We Make That Work for Us?”. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 16(1): 7897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pianin, EAlcohol Lobby Fights Drunken Driving Bill”, Washington Post, March 26, 1998.Google Scholar
Reinarman, C (1988) The Social Construction of an Alcohol Problem. Theory and Society 17(1): 91120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rice, RE and Everett, MR (1980) Reinvention in the Innovation Process. Knowledge 1(4): 499514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rogers, EM (2003) Diffusion of Innovations. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Russell, A, Voas, RB, DeJong, W and Chaloupka, M (1995) MADD Rates the States: A Media Advocacy Event to Advance the Agenda Against Alcohol-Impaired Driving. Public Health Reports 110(3): 240.Google ScholarPubMed
Schnakenberg, KE (2017) Informational Lobbying and Legislative Voting. American Journal of Political Science 61(1): 129145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shipan, CR and Volden, C (2008) The Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion. American Journal of Political Science 52(4): 840857.Google Scholar
Shipan, CR and Volden, C (2014) When the Smoke Clears: Expertise, Learning and Policy Diffusion. Journal of Public Policy 34(03): 357387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Squire, P (2007) Measuring State Legislative Professionalism: The Squire Index Revisited. State Politics & Policy Quarterly 7(2): 211227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stratmann, T (1991) What Do Campaign Contributions Buy? Deciphering Causal Effects of Money and Votes. Southern Economic Journal 57(3): 606620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stratmann, T (1998) The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything? The Journal of Law and Economics 41(1): 85114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stratmann, T (2002) Can Special Interests Buy Congressional Votes? Evidence from Financial Services Legislation. The Journal of Law and Economics 45(2): 345373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Volden, C (2006) States as Policy Laboratories: Emulating Success in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. American Journal of Political Science 50(2): 294312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Volden, C, Michael, MT and Daniel, PC (2008) A Formal Model of Learning and Policy Diffusion. American Political Science Review 102(03): 319332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walker, JL (1969) The Diffusion of Innovations among the American States. American Political Science Review 63(03): 880899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Yu et al. supplementary material

Appendices 1-4

Download Yu et al. supplementary material(File)
File 31 KB
Supplementary material: Link

Yu et al. Dataset

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Lobbying, learning and policy reinvention: an examination of the American States’ drunk driving laws
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Lobbying, learning and policy reinvention: an examination of the American States’ drunk driving laws
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Lobbying, learning and policy reinvention: an examination of the American States’ drunk driving laws
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *