Networks and Political Attitudes: Structure, Influence, and Co-Evolution

39 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2008  

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Brian Rubineau

Cornell University

Carol Chetkovich

Mills College

Nancy Katz

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Michael A. Neblo

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 2008

Abstract

How do political views and social affiliations co-evolve? A long stream of research has focused on the relationship between political views and social affiliations, however, it is typically difficult to discern the causal relationship between views and affiliations. Here we use longitudinal attitudinal and whole network data collected at critical times (notably, at the inception of the system) to pinpoint and specify the determinants of attitudes and affiliations. We find significant conformity tendencies: individuals shift their political views toward the political views of their associates. This conformity is driven by social ties rather than task ties. We also find that, while individuals tend to associate with similar others, political views are notably less a basis for associational choices than demographic and institutional factors.

Keywords: Advocacy and Persuasion, Electoral Politics

Suggested Citation

Lazer, David and Rubineau, Brian and Chetkovich, Carol and Katz, Nancy and Neblo, Michael A., Networks and Political Attitudes: Structure, Influence, and Co-Evolution (September 2008). HKS Working Paper No. RWP08-044. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1280328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1280328

David Lazer (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-2796 (Phone)
617-373-5311 (Fax)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Taubman Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0102 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidlazer.com

Brian Rubineau

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-3048 (Phone)

Carol Chetkovich

Mills College ( email )

5000 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94613-1301
United States

Nancy R. Katz

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Michael A. Neblo

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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