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Testing Policy Theory with Statistical Models of Networks


Mark Lubell is Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at University of California at Davis.

John Scholz is Eppes Professor of Political Science and Courtesy Professor of Law at Florida State University.

Ramiro Berardo is Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona.

Garry Robins is a mathematical psychologist and social network methodologist in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia.


This article presents a conceptual framework for clarifying the network hypotheses embedded in policy theories and how they relate to macrolevel political institutions and microlevel political behavior. We then describe the role of statistical models of networks for testing these hypotheses, including the problem of operationalizing theoretical concepts with the parameters of statistical models. Examples from existing theories of the policy process and empirical research are provided and potential extensions are discussed.