Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Community Structure in the United Nations General Assembly"

The final version of my paper on the United Nations is out, and it has a 2012 publication date.

Title: Community Structure in the United Nations General Assembly

Authors: Kevin T. Macon*, Peter J. Muchaa, Mason A. Porter

Abstract: We study the community structure of networks representing voting on resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly. We construct networks from the voting records of the separate annual sessions between 1946 and 2008 in three different ways: (1) by considering voting similarities as weighted unipartite networks; (2) by considering voting similarities as weighted, signed unipartite networks; and (3) by examining signed bipartite networks in which countries are connected to resolutions. For each formulation, we detect communities by optimizing network modularity using an appropriate null model. We compare and contrast the results that we obtain for these three different network representations. We thereby illustrate the need to consider multiple resolution parameters and explore the effectiveness of each network representation for identifying voting groups amidst the large amount of agreement typical in General Assembly votes.

* Notice that one of the authors on this paper on networks has the name "Kevin Macon". Hence, I have a Macon number of 1. (Technically, I already had a Macon number of 1 because of an earlier publication---but this clearly bears repeating.)


Anonymous said...

on the relevant note, will I look like a massive fanboi if I bring my Networks book for Mark to sign today?

Mason said...

I don't think it's a problem. I think he'll be happy to sign the book.

Jon said...

It seems that there should be a way to represent repeated interactions with Macon. If I want to know something about Macon, I would prefer to go to someone with a Macon number of 1, but more preferably I would go to someone with a Macon number of 1 who has had that interaction half a dozen times. So maybe your Macon number is 1(2). Or maybe it should be 1/2. That way as you interact more and more with Kevin Macon, your Macon number -> 0.

Mason said...

Jon: There is a way to do this. One uses a weighted network. Hence, the adjacency matrix element A(i,j) could be assigned a value that is e.g. equal to the number of times person i and person j coauthored a paper. Fundamentally better, however, would be to use a "bipartite" (two-mode) network in which people are connected directly to papers. If you take a look at the paper discussed in this entry, you'll notice that your question is highly relevant to it (except with UN resolutions rather than with papers).