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The Formation of Elite Communication Networks in Malawi: A Bayesian Econometric Approach

Christian Aßmann, Eva Krampe and Christian Henning
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Eva Krampe: European Investment Bank
Christian Henning: Kiel University, Chair of Agricultural Policy

A chapter in Development Policies and Policy Processes in Africa, 2018, pp 213-233 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract This chapter presents an empirical approach towards analyzing the determinants of elite communication networks. Such an analysis allows for the evaluation of real-world participatory policy processes in terms of their informing and distorting nature. A case in point is the participatory policy process leading to the launch of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Malawi. Network data were collected via face-to-face interviews with Malawi’s political elite. In this approach, we use an extended binary regression framework, which can deal with missing values inevitably occurring within survey data. In fact, model parameters are estimated using an adaptation of the Bayesian estimation scheme for binary probit models based on the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methodology. Empirical results suggest that (i) homophily in policy interests is not a significant basis for tie choice, (ii) knowledge is an important but not leading determinant of communication, and (iii) the structural embeddedness of organizations within the network mainly determines the formation of ties. Overall, we summarize that, although the policy network formation underlying participatory structures in Malawi clearly discriminates between types of non-governmental organizations, it is not distorted in favor of specific social groups.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-60714-6_9

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