## Abstract

We study the behavior of exponential random graphs in both the sparse and the dense regime. We show that exponential random graphs are approximate mixtures of graphs with independent edges whose probability matrices are critical points of an associated functional, thereby satisfying a certain matrix equation. In the dense regime, every solution to this equation is close to a block matrix, concluding that the exponential random graph behaves roughly like a mixture of stochastic block models. We also show existence and uniqueness of solutions to this equation for several families of exponential random graphs, including the case where the subgraphs are counted with positive weights and the case where all weights are small in absolute value. In particular, this generalizes some of the results in a paper by Chatterjee and Diaconis from the dense regime to the sparse regime and strengthens their bounds from the cut-metric to the one-metric.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 3698-3735 |

Number of pages | 38 |

Journal | Annals of Applied Probability |

Volume | 28 |

Issue number | 6 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Dec 2018 |

Externally published | Yes |

## Keywords

- Exponential random graph models
- Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma
- Mixture models
- Random graph
- Stochastic block models