Borders Moderating Distance: A Social Network Analysis of Spatial Effects on Policy Interaction

Christophe Sohn*, Dimitris Christopoulos, Johan Koskinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


The present paper examines the importance of integrating geographical effects into the analysis of social networks. Specifically, we study the impacts of spatial distance and territorial borders on information exchange within two European cross-border regions where there is evidence of extensive cross-border political interaction in the domain of public transportation. We use exponential random graph models to review how these spatial factors influence policy interaction. We show how the effect of distance on the exchange of information between organizations is less obvious than it seems at first sight, when we control for endogenous networks effects with which it tends to be confounded. We also explore moderating effects among the spatial factors studied and in particular how the effect of distance affects information exchange by territoriality. While the probability of interaction decreases with distance in the context of domestic ties, distance does not exert the same friction when it comes to cross-border ties. These findings suggest that borders are not necessarily a barrier to interaction and that peripheral actors located in border regions may bridge distance in order to access strategic information they do not have access to within their territorial jurisdiction and is likely concentrated in foreign decision centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-451
Number of pages24
JournalGeographical Analysis
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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