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This paper examines retiree recruitment as a strategy in state economic development policy. The study employs a theoretical framework of policy adoption and lesson-drawing to answer the questions (1) why would a state adopt the policy of retiree recruitment and (2) how is the policy adopted. Three states in different stages of retiree recruitment policy adoption were selected as case studies. Results show that different strategies in policy adoption were operating in each case study state. In each state development of retiree recruitment was in response to a need to diversify the state economy. The idea of retiree recruitment originated in different venues, but in each case policy adoption was modeled on tourism development practices. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of retiree recruitment in the context of current economic assumptions made about the positive economic impact of retirees and in the context of new approaches to state economic development.