A Strife of Interests: Tripartite Center-Periphery
Analysis of Events in a Policy Network
David Knoke
University of Minnesota
Dimitris Christopoulos
MODUL University
Mario Diani
University of Trento
Almost four decades of theorizing and research on policy networks generated numerous insights
into their structures and consequences. Recent methodological developments promise improved
understanding of these important political institutions. We explicate and demonstrate how two
methods – tripartite or three-mode network analysis and core/periphery analysis – can be used in
combination to reveal fine-grained details in previously unanalyzed data on the U.S. national
labor policy domain. The three modes are private interest organizations, government legislative
and executive agencies, and a set of labor legislation events. In restricted tripartite analyses both
types of organizations have interests in the events but not in one another. In unrestricted tripartite
analyses, the two sets of organizations also communicate policy information. The results reveal
that the labor policy domain is differentiated into a core position, occupied by generalist
organizations and legislative events which attract wide interest, and a peripheral position
occupied by specialist organizations and events of narrow interest. We conclude with some
implications for policy network research and applications to a broader range of multimodal
social networks.

A Strife of Interests: Tripartite Center-Periphery

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