The use of genetic information in employment : a diffusion study with consideration of policy innovation research
Renihan, Nicole Skrzypages
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The mapping of the human genome and the potential availability of genetic information to entities such as employers are issues of public concern. This is evident in that states have begun enacting legislation to control the use of genetic information. This thesis examines this state-level response to the potential use of genetic information by employers. The examination of these policies will be conducted within the theoretical framework of policy innovation research as defined by Jack Walker, Virginia Gray, Robert Savage, and Larry Carter and James LaPlant. The purpose of this study is to observe the early stages of policy diffusion of specific policy through the states and determine the impact of policy innovation on this process. This diffusion process will be examined with a combination of prior measures of innovation and the internal determinants and regionalism diffusion models, as joining policy innovation theory and diffusion modeling provides a deeper analysis than possible with any of these tools alone. Policy innovativeness will be observed as a characteristic of the states and will be analyzed in terms of enactment, if a state adopts a policy; timing, the speed in which a state adopts a policy; and comprehensiveness, the scope of the policy adopted. This thesis will conclude with a discussion of the level of success policy innovation research has in explaining the state-level policy reaction in the area of genetic discrimination in employment and a reminder that this is an observation of the beginning of the diffusion process which is valuable in explaining forces that drive and direct the policy diffusion process across the states.