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Interdependent policy instrument preferences: a two-mode network approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2018

Florence Metz*
Institute of Environmental Decisions, ETH Zürich, Switzerland Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland
Philip Leifeld
School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK
Karin Ingold
Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland Department of Environmental Social Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Switzerland Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
*Corresponding author. Email:


In policymaking, actors are likely to take the preferences of others into account when strategically positioning themselves. However, there is a lack of research that conceives of policy preferences as an interdependent system. In order to analyse interdependencies, we link actors to their policy preferences in water protection, which results in an actor-instrument network. As actors exhibit multiple preferences, a complex two-mode network between actors and policies emerges. We analyse whether actors exhibit interdependent preference profiles given shared policy objectives or social interactions among them. By fitting an exponential random graph model to the actor-instrument network, we find considerable clustering, meaning that actors tend to exhibit preferences for multiple policy instruments in common. Actors tend to exhibit interdependent policy preferences when they are interconnected, that is, they collaborate with each other. By contrast, actors are less likely to share policy preferences when a conflict line divides them.

Research Article
© Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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Cite this article: Metz F, Leifeld P, Ingold K. 2019. Interdependent policy instrument preferences: a two-mode network approach. Journal of Public Policy 39: 609–636,, doi:10.1017/S0143814X18000181


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