Spectral Goodness of Fit for Network Models
23 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 24, 2014
We introduce a new statistic, 'spectral goodness of fit' (SGOF) to measure how well a network model explains the structure of an observed network. SGOF provides an absolute measure of fit, analogous to the standard R-squared in linear regression. Additionally, as it takes advantage of the properties of the spectrum of the graph Laplacian, it is suitable for comparing network models of diverse functional forms, including both fitted statistical models and algorithmic generative models of networks. After introducing, defining, and providing guidance for interpreting SGOF, we illustrate the properties of the statistic with a number of examples and comparisons to existing techniques. We show that such a spectral approach to assessing model fit fills gaps left by earlier methods and can be widely applied.
Keywords: social networks, complex systems, network models, goodness of fit, spectral graph theory
JEL Classification: C00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation