Faculty Publications

Title

Taking on tobacco: Policy entrepreneurship and the tobacco litigation

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Political Research Quarterly

Volume

54

Issue

3

First Page

605

Last Page

622

Abstract

The retrenchment of the federal government and the deregulation of many industries, beginning in the 1980s, afforded state elected officials opportunities for policy entrepreneurship. In particular, state attorneys general began to create policy. The recent high profile tobacco litigation demonstrates the use of this oft-overlooked office for policy innovation. The legal effort initiated by the states against the tobacco industry sheds light on the role of the state attorney general in our federal system. While much of the literature on state politics continues to debate and examine the influence of the governor on policy innovation and diffusion, our study provides a clear example of policy innovation independent of the governor. Our event history analysis supports critiques of the field of state politics that note the lack of attention to other actors and the context surrounding state policy development. We find that the attorney general is an innovator in her own right, motivated by partisan self interest and working within the constraints of her role. Crises and events clearly mobilized activity among the attorneys general. The state attorneys general succeeded in creating a new national tobacco policy through litigation and these actors demand closer attention as policy entrepreneurs.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2001

DOI of published version

10.1177/106591290105400306

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