Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geographical study of the spatial spread of innovations has revealed much about the spatial components of innovation diffusion, but innovations diffuse in other dimensions as well. This study compares the ability of the classic spatial diffusion model with diffusion modeled in constructed social-economic dimensions. Each model is compared with its counterpart in its ability to simulate and explain the growth of the prohibition movement during the period 1876 to 1920. The various models indicate that prohibition spread in several dimensions simultaneously. The spatial diffusion model demonstrates that the innovation spread first to the West and then back North from a Southern core. The socio-economic model indicates that prohibition spread from counties with high black and Protestant concentrations to counties whose residents were proportionally more white and Catholic. Evaluation of the urban hierarchical model revealed that prohibition spread from more rural to urban counties. A spatial diffusion model using county ethnic-racial composition reinterated and clarified previous findings. The comparison of the models led to the realization that spatial diffusion models, while explaining a large proportion of the variance observed, are inadequate. A model that encompasses the special cases and ad hoc fixes necessary in spatial diffusion modeling was required. The concept of general n-dimensional models is offered as a solution to these problems with spatial diffusion models. Spatial diffusion models are reclassified as a specific type of a general two-dimensional model. The special case of the spatial model, urban hierarchical diffusion, is similarly reclassed as but one type of a general three-dimensional model. Two and three-dimensional models are also only special cases of n-dimensional diffusion models. Methods and guidelines for creating and implementing n-dimensional models are presented in the final chapter.