A model for network panel data is discussed, based on the assumption that the observed data are discrete observations of a continuous-time Markov process on the space of all directed graphs on a given node set, in which changes in tie variables are independent conditional on the current graph. The model for tie changes is parametric and designed for applications to social network analysis, where the network dynamics can be interpreted as being generated by choices made by the social actors represented by the nodes of the graph. An algorithm for calculating the Maximum Likelihood estimator is presented, based on data augmentation and stochastic approximation. An application to an evolving friendship network is given and a small simulation study is presented which suggests that for small data sets the Maximum Likelihood estimator is more efficient than the earlier proposed Method of Moments estimator.
"Maximum likelihood estimation for social network dynamics." Ann. Appl. Stat. 4 (2) 567 - 588, June 2010. https://doi.org/10.1214/09-AOAS313