Advances in community detection reveal new insights into multiplex and multilayer networks. Less work, however, investigates the relationship between these communities and outcomes in social systems. We leverage these advances to shed light on the relationship between the cooperative mesostructure of the international system and the onset of interstate conflict. We detect communities based upon weaker signals of affinity expressed in United Nations votes and speeches, as well as stronger signals observed across multiple layers of bilateral cooperation. Communities of diplomatic affinity display an expected negative relationship with conflict onset. Ties in communities based upon observed cooperation, however, display no effect under a standard model specification and a positive relationship with conflict under an alternative specification. These results align with some extant hypotheses but also point to a paucity in our understanding of the relationship between community structure and behavioral outcomes in networks.
- network analysis
- United Nations