Skip to main content
×
Home

Scraping Public Co-Occurrences for Statistical Network Analysis of Political Elites*

Abstract

Collecting network information on political elites using conventional methods such as surveys and text records is challenging in authoritarian and/or conflict-ridden states. I introduce a data collection method for elite networks using scraping algorithms to capture public co-appearances at political and social events. Validity checks using existing data show the method effectively replicates interaction-based networks but not networks based on behavioral similarities; in both cases, measurement error remains a concern. Applying the method to Nigeria illustrates that patronage—measured in terms of public connectivity—does not drive national oil companies appointments. Given that theories of elite behavior aim to understand individual-level interactions, the applicability of data using this technique is well-suited to situations where intrusive data collection is costly or prohibitive.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Paasha Mahdavi is an Assistant Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, Old North, Suite 100, 3700 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20057 (paasha.mahdavi@georgetown.edu). This paper has benefited from discussions with Nicholas Beauchamp, Graeme Blair, Bruce Desmarais, Mark Handcock, John Ishiyama, Franziska Keller, Jeffrey Lewis, Lauren Peritz, Brandon Stewart, Josef Woldense and participants at the 2014 meeting of the Society for Political Methodology, the 2015 meeting of the American Political Science Association, and the UCLA working group on statistical network analysis. The author thanks the editors and three anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions. All errors are the authors own. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2017.28

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Avina-Vazquez Carlos Rafael, and Uddin Shahzad. 2016. ‘Social capital, networks and interlocking directorates: A Mexican tale’. Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies 6(3):291312.
Bueno de Mesquita Bruce, Smith Alastair, Siverson Randolph, and Morrow James. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Cranmer Skyler J., and Desmarais Bruce A.. 2011. ‘Inferential network analysis with exponential random graph models’. Political Analysis 19(1):6686.
Desmarais Bruce A., Moscardelli Vincent G., Schaffner Brian F., and Kowal Michael S.. 2015. ‘Measuring legislative collaboration: The Senate press events network’. Social Networks 40:4354.
Fowler James H. 2006. ‘Connecting the Congress: A Study of Cosponsorship Networks’. Political Analysis 14(4):456487.
Gillies Alexandra. 2009. ‘Reforming corruption out of Nigerian oil?’. Chr. Michelson Institute U4 Brief 2:14.
Grimmer Justin, and Stewart Brandon M.. 2013. ‘Text as data: The promise and pitfalls of automatic content analysis methods for political texts’. Political Analysis 21:267297.
Ishiyama John. 2014. ‘Assessing the leadership transition in North Korea: Using network analysis of field inspections, 1997-2012’. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 47:137146.
Lazer David. 2011. ‘Networks in political science: Back to the future’. PS: Political Science & Politics 44(1):6168.
Lee Sang Hoon, Kim Pan-Jun, Ahn Yong-Yeol, and Jeong Hawoong. 2010. ‘Googling social interactions: Web search engine based social network construction’. PLoS ONE 5(7):e11233.
Mahdavi Paasha, and Ishiyama John. 2016. Dynamics of the inner elite in dictatorships: Evidence from North Korea. Unpublished manuscript, Georgetown University.
Scott James C. 1972. ‘Patron-client politics and political change in Southeast Asia’. American Political Science Review 66(1):91113.
Svolik Milan. 2012. The Politics of Authoritarian Rule. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Victor David G., Hults David, and Thurber Mark C. (Eds.) 2012. Oil and Governance: State-owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Victor Jennifer N., and Ringe Nils. 2009. ‘The social utility of informal institutions caucuses as networks in the 110th US House of Representatives’. American Politics Research 37(5):742766.
Ward Michael D., Stovel Katherine, and Sacks Audrey. 2011. ‘Network analysis and political science’. Annual Review of Political Science 14:245264.
Wasserman Stanley, and Faust Katherine. 1994. Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Mahdavi supplementary material
Online Appendix

 PDF (3.8 MB)
3.8 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 56 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 507 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 14th September 2017 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.