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Modeling Dependencies in International Relations Networks

  • Peter D. Hoff (a1) and Michael D. Ward (a2)

Abstract

Despite the desire to focus on the interconnected nature of politics and economics at the global scale, most empirical studies in the field of international relations assume not only that the major actors are sovereign, but also that their relationships are portrayed in data that are modeled as independent phenomena. In contrast, this article illustrates the use of linear and bilinear random—effects models to represent statistical dependencies that often characterize dyadic data such as international relations. In particular, we show how to estimate models for dyadic data that simultaneously take into account: (a) regressor variables, (b) correlation of actions having the same actor, (c) correlation of actions having the same target, (d) correlation of actions between a pair of actors (i.e., reciprocity of actions), and (e) third-order dependencies, such as transitivity, clustering, and balance. We apply this new approach to the political relations among a wide range of political actors in Central Asia over the period 1989–1999, illustrating the presence and strength of second- and third-order statistical dependencies in these data.

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