Exploring Small-World Network with an Elite-Clique: Bringing Embeddedness Theory into the Dynamic Evolution of a Venture Capital Network

Weiwei Gu, Jar-der Luo, Jifan Liu

This paper uses a network dynamics model to explain the formation of a small-world network with an elite-clique. This network is a small-world network with an elite-clique at its center in which elites are also the centers of many small groups. These leaders also act as bridges between different small groups. Network dynamics are an important research topic due to their ability to explain the evolution of network structures. In this paper, a Chinese Venture Capital (VC) network was coded from joint investments between VC firms and then analyzed to uncover its network properties and factors that influence its evolution. We first built a random graph model to control for factors such as network scale, network growth, investment frequency and syndication tendency. Then we added a partner-selection mechanism and used two theories to analyze the formation of network structure: relational embeddedness and structural embeddedness. After that, we ran simulations and compared the three models with the actual Chinese VC network. To do this we computed the elite-clique's EI index, degree distribution, clustering coefficient distribution and motifs. Results show that adding embeddedness theories significantly improved the network dynamic model's predictive power, and help us uncover the mechanisms that affect the formation of a small-world industrial network with an elite-clique at its center.

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