Exponential Random Graph Models for Social Networks

Theory, methods, and applications

In this book, we aim to introduce ERGMs in a way that takes the reader from the basic theoretical assumptions underlying the models, through the technical specifications and statistical detail, to applied examples illustrating how various substantive research questions may be investigated and tested empirically. The goals of this book are twofold: to describe ERGMs and to demonstrate how recent methodological developments allow us to address social network research questions in new and powerful ways. A specific target audience is the growing number of social scientists who are interested in statistical models for social networks and network-based social processes. We aim to provide an intuitive understanding of these models for those readers who may be unfamiliar with ERGMs. We also focus on delivering sufficient technical detail for those with a social network methodological background and who are interested in a deeper understanding of the modeling and estimation. We hope to lay bare the value of a statistical modeling approach in answering core questions about interactive social processes.