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The formation of political discussion networks

Dialogues among politicians provide a window into political landscapes and relations among parties and nations. Existing research has focused on the outcomes of such dialogues and on the structure of social networks on which they take place. Little is known, however, about how political discussion networks form and which are the main driving forces behind their formation.

We study a collection of ego-networks from 30 randomly sampled Romanian politicians to reveal fundamental processes behind the formation of political discussion networks.

We show that ties in such networks tend to be strong and balanced, and that their organization is not affected by sex, age or education homophily.

We use the exponential family of random graph models for small networks to assess likely closure mechanisms and possible homophily effects, but we note that further research and additional data are needed to fully understand the impact of context and political affiliations on the generalization of our findings.

M.-G. Hâncean, M. Perc, A. Gheorghita, G. G. Vega Yon, B.-E. Mihalia, The formation of political discussion networks, Royal Open Society Open Science 9 (1) (2022) 211609

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