Knowledge Platform

Structuring of local relationships and impact pathways

In this group we include methods mainly aimed at describing the structure of relationships among actors, leading to an improved understanding of channels of economic effects. A widely used tool in several branches of economics is Social Network Analysis (SNA). In general, SNA assess the relationships between actors and groups of actors. For regional research however - despite being suitable - the method is still rarely used.

General Purpose and Application

Social network analysis is used to study phenomena that can be understood based on relationships among actors, e.g. communication or technology diffusion. This also applies to how values are formed and pathways of economic impacts work. Network analysis attracts attention particularly as traditional economic models ignore the structure of relationships; instruments such as SNA can then be important complementary tools to deal with phenomena for which such relationships are important. A stakeholder network analysis has been applied in the Austrian case study.

Lessons learned

The construction of the network is based on surveys (standardized questionnaire) distributed on a number of relevant stakeholders, and thus it involves the cost related to the survey distribution and processing, as well as the potential distortions due to sampling biases and accessibility of stakeholders. It would be very relevant to be able to construct network analysis on the basis of systematic datasets of actors and linkages.

One of the empirical issues arising from the CLAIM project is the importance of networks in determining pathways of second order effects of landscape management, as well as to use such networks as a target of CAP and other landscape valorisation policies, so SNA and similar techniques may be very relevant in the future study of this subject.