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Evolution of community structure in the system of global environmental governance




Fagan, Jesse M., author
Zahran, Sammy J., advisor
Lacy, Michael, committee member
Betsill, Michele Merrill, 1967-, committee member

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Self-organization can arise in systems where actors interact in non-trivial ways and adapt their rule-sets in response to their environment. In the global system of environmental governance (GSEG), countries that interact frequently develop cultures of practice and aggregate into larger structures or communities. Network analysis provides a powerful set of tools to describe the evolution and composition of observed communities. Methods developed for bipartite networks are used to consider the behavior of countries and agreements simultaneously in the years between 1950 and 2000. Specifically, the BRIM algorithm, a bipartite adaptation of Newman's eigenvector method of community discovery, is implemented to identify the borders of densely connected international environmental communities. Our analysis of community structure provides a more precise quantification of the evolution of the international environmental system of governance noted by regime theorists.


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community structure
social network analysis
network analysis
international environmental treaties
dynamic network


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