This paper argues that attributes of diffusion objects, in their own right, shape the form and extent of policy diffusion. To date, diffusion scholarship focuses on actor-level attributes (e.g., connections, culture, physical proximity, etc.) to explain what is diffused, and how much. Extending existing theory on the impacts of policies’ textual properties on diffusion patterns, we argue that policies that are easier to understand, specific in their applicability, and that do not mandate specific behavior have their text diffused with less adaptation, regardless of the attributes of the authoring organization. We test our argument in the context of the global diffusion of Corporate Sustainability Policy (CSP), analyzing a novel dataset of 1,429 CSPs from 100 countries, 20 international organizations, and 12 regional organizations over a 65-year period. Offering a precise measure of diffusion as the extent to which a source text is copied into an adopter text, we find statistical support for our hypothesis. We contribute to diffusion scholarship by helping to mainstream natural language processing methods and by theorizing how attributes of policy documents affect how much adaptation occurs.
|Journal||INTERNATIONAL STUDIES QUARTERLY|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jun 2023|
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Natural language processing (NLP)