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The Evolution of Political Networks: Evidence from the Council of the European Union

Journal article
Authors Narisong Huhe
Daniel Naurin
Robert Thomson
Published in European Union Politics
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 25-51
ISSN 1465-1165
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 25-51
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


We test two of the main explanations of the formation of political ties. The first states that political actors are more likely to form a relationship if they have similar policy preferences. The second explanation, from network theory, predicts that the likelihood of a tie between two actors depends on the presence of certain relationships with other actors. Our data consist of a unique combination of actors' policy positions and their network relations over time in the Council of the European Union. We find evidence that both types of explanations matter, although there seems to be variation in the extent to which preference similarity affects network evolution. We consider the implications of these findings for understanding the decision-making in the Council.

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