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I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Baker for taking the time to
investigate this so thoroughly. I have nothing but the deepest respect
for him, and I take no small measure of inspiration from his diligent
Wayne Baker wrote:
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> Recently, a message was posted on SOCNET concerning "The Social
> Organization of Conspiracy" (Baker and Faulkner 1993). Subsequently,
> the sender of this post contacted me via email. I sent a response to
> him, but since he raised concerns in this public forum, I thought it
> appropriate to post my response. The relevant portions are reproduced
> Best wishes,
> Wayne Baker
> The confusion is caused by a typo in the article, and a little lack of
> clarity on our part. Otherwise, our measures, analysis, findings, and
> interpretation are correct. Specifically, here are the answers to the
> issues you raised:
> (1) Our definition of closeness (farness) point centrality, Eq. 3, p.
> 848. There is a typo. The superscript -1 is missing from the equation,
> which, unfortunately, we didn't spot in proof reading. This is a
> measure of "point decentrality" (Freeman 1979:225), or, as we put it,
> (2) Comparisons of point centrality across networks of different sizes.
> It make sense to standardize measures of point centrality in most
> cases--but not all (Freeman 1979). In our context, degree centrality
> has a very intuitive meaning: the number of direct eyewitnesses of
> ego's participation in a price-fixing conspiracy. In a legal setting,
> the number of direct eyewitnesses (degree centrality) makes more sense
> than the number of direct eyewitnesses relative to the total number of
> participants (relative degree centrality). A direct eyewitness is a
> direct eyewitness, whether the network has 21 participants
> (transformers), 24 (turbines), or 33 (switchgear). (Indeed, it would be
> hard to say how a grand jury would interpret relative degree
> centrality.) By extension, the same logic applies to farness and
> betweenness. Farness, for example, measures paths (geodesics) of direct
> and indirect eyewitnesses. So, in our particular context, it makes
> sense to *not* standardize point centrality measures.
> (3) For the measure of graph centralization, we used the standardized
> closeness index, according to Eq. 4, p. 850. We did not use farness.
> We apparently caused confusion by referring to farness when discussing
> graph centralization (e.g., footnote 8). We did so to remind the reader
> that our measure of "closeness" point centrality was actually a measure
> of distance. In this context, it seemed especially important to do so.
> In retrospect, we could have been clearer about this in our article,
> making sure there was no ambiguity about our measures of point
> centrality and graph centralization.
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