Midwest Social Sciences Journal


In recent years, municipalities throughout Indiana have passed antidiscrimination ordinances that protect the rights of individuals who belong to racial, ethnic, or sexual minorities. Political scientists have proposed competing theories of policy-adoption processes that suggest a number of internal factors (such as socioeconomic characteristics, governmental capacity, or issue salience) or external factors (such as mandates/incentives from higher-level governments or influence from neighboring communities) as predictors of policy adoption; however, most existing studies focus on state-level processes, and those that focus on municipalities consider only large cities in different states. To more clearly distinguish between state-level effects and local effects, this study focuses on municipalities of all sizes within one particular region (Northwest Indiana) since 1992 and considers various theories of municipal policy processes in order to develop a model that explains the intraregional variation in whether municipalities adopted antidiscrimination ordinances and when they did so. An event-history analysis (Cox proportional hazards regression) finds the strongest empirical support for a model of antidiscrimination-policy adoption that uses municipality size and the extent of local mediareporting on biasmotivated incidents as predictors.