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World Politics

Vol. 64, No. 3

July 2012

Global Networks and Domestic Policy Convergence: A Network Explanation of Policy Changes

By Xun Cao

National economies are embedded in complex networks such as trade, capital flows, and intergovernmental organizations (igos). These globalization forces impose differential impacts on national economies depending on a country's network positions. This article addresses the policy convergence-divergence debate by focusing on how networks at the international level affect domestic fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies. The author presents two hypotheses: first, similarity in network positions induces convergence in domestic economic policies as a result of peer competitive pressure. Second, proximity in network positions facilitates policy learning and emulation, which result in policy convergence. The empirical analysis applies a latent-space model for relational/dyadic data and indicates that position similarity in the network of exports induces convergence in fiscal and regulatory policies; position similarity in the network of transnational portfolio investments induces convergence in fiscal policies; and position proximity in igo networks is consistently associated with policy convergence in fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies.

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