Institutions, policy innovation, and e-government in the American States

Caroline J. Tolbert, Karen Mossberger, Ramona McNeal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


Examining the rankings of American states in one fast-growing policy area, e-government, states with the most sophisticated and comprehensive policies varied over a five-year period. What factors account for change in digital government policy innovation over time? Using time-series analysis and 50-state data, the authors find that state institutional capacity is important for continued innovation. They also find an association between reinvention in state governments and the institutionalization of information technology, suggesting a more general orientation toward government reform and modernization. Although state wealth and education were not significant in previous studies, they emerge as predictors of later innovation. The theoretical contribution of this study is to better understand the dynamic character of innovation over time and the role of institutions. The link between reinvention and e-government raises the possibility that the modernization of state institutions generally facilitates innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalPublic administration review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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