Analyzing Drivers of Policy Instrument Preferences with Two-mode Networks. An Exponential Random Graph Model Approach

Metz, Florence; Leifeld, Philip; Ingold, Karin (15 June 2016). Analyzing Drivers of Policy Instrument Preferences with Two-mode Networks. An Exponential Random Graph Model Approach (Unpublished). In: 2nd European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN 2016), Political Networks. Paris, France. 14.-17. Juni 2016.

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While the successful adoption of policy instruments as law depends upon a number of factors, this paper focuses on “instrument preferences”, i.e., on how the political elite perceives and evaluates different policy options. The adoption of policy instruments is facilitated when key players of the political elite prefer a certain type of policy instrument. In order to assess instrument preferences and their causes, the present paper analyses a new policy field of water protection policy: the issue of micropollutants in waterbodies. We employ a network approach to explain the processes guiding policy preference formation by fitting an exponential random graph model (ERGM) to a two-mode network of political actors (the first mode) and their preferred policy instruments (the second mode). With the bipartite ERGM, we test whether actors who display similar problem perceptions (H1), competence levels (H2a), or organizational types (H2b) exhibit shared policy instrument preferences. Moreover, we estimate if actors who collaborate (H3a) or who display equivalent network positions (H3b) have a higher chance to share instrument preferences.
The paper employs data from a survey conducted in 2013 with Swiss policy actors who participated in the amendment of the Waters Protection Act and Ordinance for the reduction of micropollutants in waterbodies. Actors representing governmental bodies, science, political parties, water, environmental, and economic associations reported their preferences towards a variety of policy instruments for the reduction of micropollutants, their perception of the severity of the micropollutants problem, their geographical areas, and levels (national, regional, local) of responsibility. Actors also answered a battery of questions on their collaboration ties and their memberships in international water basin organizations. Results indicate that actors who similarly perceive the problem also tend to have common instrument preferences. Likewise, actors of similar types tend to share instrument preferences. Findings suggest that in the underlying case, concerted policy action not only depends on actors’ linkages, but also on their perceptions and organizational mandate. Who participates in policy networks is thus a decisive factor influencing the outcome of political decisions.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Metz, Florence Alessa, Leifeld, Philip, Ingold, Karin Mirjam


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Florence Alessa Metz

Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2017 12:03

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:04


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