Social Network Analysis of China’s Leadership

Exploring Biographical Ties among Party and State Leaders in China: A Social Network Analysis” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2021.1954233) is a new article by Alexey Tokarev, Adlan Margoev and Alexey Prikhodchenko, all of the Institute for International Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Moscow, Russia.

The abstract for the paper states:

This article offers a new perspective on Chinese elite politics in the Xi Jinping era by overcoming the drawbacks of the factional approach to the study of the Chinese elite. It analyses professional connections among 71 members of the category of party and state leaders of China based on information drawn from their official biographies and compiled by the authors into a single dataset. Four types of centrality – degree, betweenness, closeness, and eigenvector centralities – as well as the Louvain method for community detection, are applied to weighted and unweighted edge lists deriving from the dataset. The results reveal a positive correlation between the eigenvector centrality (unweighted) and the level of the formal political influence of a member of the Chinese elite. A distinct hierarchy of power is observed, with Politburo members and those coming from important areas, such as Shanghai, Fujian, and Zhejiang, ranking at the top. Louvain clustering (weighted) distributes members of the elite across institutional affiliation, while for the unweighted edge list it identifies both territorial and institutional, as well as mixed, clusters. The model reflects the formal political influence of the members of the elite and visualises the existence of informal groups.

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