The Science of Diffusion and the Spread of Public Policy

A team of researchers are applying network science and dynamical systems to understand how health policies spread.

Most of us think of diffusion in the context of its scientific definition as the process whereby particles of liquids, gases or solids intermingle and in dissolved substances move from a region of higher to one of lower concentration. However, it also applies to the spread of policies between and among cultural, social and governmental systems. 

A research team at New York University (NYU) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) collaborated on merging the domains of health policy with network science and dynamical systems to help understand the mechanisms of policy diffusion in the same way we understand the diffusion of one substance into another. Their findings are discussed in Chaos, from AIP Publishing.

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