Using social network analysis to assess climate policy integration: insights from Brazil’s semiarid region

Dr. Carolina Milhorance

In the climate and land use policy domains, policy mixes are complex in terms of levels of governance, actors, and roles. They consist of policy instruments that target different actors/groups and address multiple goals across multiple policy sectors and levels. The analysis of these complex arrangements extends beyond pure technical criteria of efficiency as several sources of tension between instruments may be identified. Meanwhile, the proliferation of governance networks complicates the understanding of actors’ interactions and types of power and authority influencing the outcomes of policy mixes.
This article provides a framework to address these analytical challenges, particularly the interconnected networks of policy actors and policy instruments. The framework is applied to the climate policies implemented in the Brazil’s semiarid region, and it draws on social network analysis to characterize policy mixes being effectively implemented in the region. It develops methodological steps to characterize conflicting and convergent instruments being concretely implemented in the region. Additionally, it analyses types of governance structures, power and its distribution within and across policy networks, and the groups of actors participating in the decision-making and implementation of these instruments. It also sheds light on the actors and networks that perform key functions in connecting levels and sectors. Finally, the study provides insights on how social network analysis can be used to address intersectoral policy conflict and policy integration.