A Network Approach to the Formation of Diplomatic Ties
24 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 25, 2011
Existing research on the international diplomatic network suffers from two shortcomings: much of it largely ignores the motivations behind the creation of diplomatic linkages between states, while the attributes and structure of the diplomatic network are routinely ignored. This paper represents a first step in a broader project addressing the role of diplomatic ties and diplomatic networks in influencing transnational flows. Building from a small existing literature focusing on the creation of diplomatic ties, we seek to provide a more in-depth look at the decision to create an embassy in another country, focusing specifically on network-based motivations. In addition to using standard network methods for analysis, we also introduce an innovative method – the exponential random graph model (ERGM, also referred to as the p* model) – that has limited use in international relations. Use of an ERGM allows for improved realism in our predictions over the more general network analysis techniques applied at an earlier stage in this study.
This study will enable, for the first time, a clear understanding of the structure of diplomatic relations between countries. By explicitly accounting for network structure, we can capture a broader range of motivations for states’ actions, beyond dyad-specific characteristics. This should lead to improved analysis of the diplomatic network itself, as well as better-specified studies of the diplomatic contribution to transnational economic flows.
Keywords: Diplomacy, ERGMs, International Relations, Network Analysis
JEL Classification: C15, F02, F50, F59
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation