Two-mode brokerage in policy networks


Gould and Fernandez (1989) developed a widely used operationalization of brokerage for one-mode networks. The basic idea of brokerage is that the central actor or ‘broker' benefits from spanning the gap (or structural hole) between two disconnected parties. However, it is not always advantageous to limit the systems studied to only one mode. We develop an operationalization of two-mode brokerage in which we can classify the structures according to the heterogeneity of the types of actors involved. We apply this conception to water policy networks in the San Joaquin–Sacramento River Delta in California where two-mode networks represent organizations participating in multiple policy institutions. The potential benefits of brokerage are high in these types of fragmented systems where multiple institutions and organizations are involved with policy decisions. Of particular interest is the role of collaborative partnership institutions, which are hypothesized to broker the most heterogeneous structures. We use our two-mode version of brokerage to construct a scale of brokerage from most homogeneous to most heterogeneous. This scale lets us categorize both the role of these collaborative partnerships as well as the nature of brokerage in the system overall.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Mark Lubell, University of California, Davis
Social Networks

Related Content