19/09/2019   (Thursday) 13:00-14:00 E21B-G002

Cross-National Variation in Political Network Size and Distribution


Understanding the size and distribution of social networks is perhaps one of the most fundamental and important goals of network science. However, the many estimates of network size in the literature are based on widely different definitions of the network of interest (e.g., core networks, support networks, acquaintanceship networks, and even broader personal networks), employ a wide variety of methods, and are based on samples that are representative of no particular population or of a narrow range of countries and cultures. Such a wide variety of estimates thus suffers from a lack of comparability.

In this paper we employ data from a summary political discussion network size measure implemented in surveys – most of which are nationally representative or at least very diverse samples from within the nation – from over a dozen countries using comparable measures of network size as well as a shared set of predictors. These data permit more precise cross-national comparisons from a wide range of countries across five continents, and permit a comparison of more general social factors as well as topic-specific political factors in predicting network size.


Dr. Fei Shen (‘Chris’) is associate professor in the Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong. His main research interests include public opinion, media effects, political communication, data mining, and consumer behavior. He has published articles in such journals as Communication Theory, Journal of Communication, Communication Research, the International Journal of Press/Politics, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, New Media and Society, Political Communication, and International Journal of Communication, etc. Dr. Shen won the Google Faculty Research Award in 2014 and was a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University during 2015-2016. He is currently the associate editor of ‘Communication Methods and Measures’ and Asian Journal of Communication.