Social Networks in Policy Making
Posted: 4 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 2019
Recent advances in data collection, computing power, and theoretical modeling have stimulated a growing literature in economics and political science studying how social networks affect policy making. We survey this literature focusing on two main aspects. First, we discuss the literature studying how (and if) social connections in Congress affect legislative behavior. We then discuss how social connections affect the relationship between policy makers and the outside world, focusing on lobbying; the importance of family, caste, and ethnic networks; and social media and public activism. In our discussion, we highlight the key methodological challenges in this literature, how they have been addressed, and the prospects for future research.
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