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The Evolution of the World Trade Web

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  • Giorgio Fagiolo
  • Javier Reyes
  • Stefano Schiavo

Abstract

This paper empirically studies the statistical properties of the world trade web (WTW) and its evolution over time using a weighted network approach. Previous works have characterized the WTW as a binary network, where countries play the role of nodes and a link is in place between any two countries if there exists a sufficiently large amount of trade between them. On the contrary, we exploit the heterogeneity of trade relationships and weight each existing link by some measure of the actual amount of trade carried through that link. Our results indicate that the WTW is a strongly symmetric network, where the majority of trade relationships (and their intensities) are reciprocated. We also find that: (i) the majority of countries hold many weak trade relationships and coexist with a few countries holding less but more intense export relationships; (ii) countries that hold more intense trade relationships preferably trade with poorly-connected countries, but are typically more clustered; (iii) rich countries tend to form more intense trade links and to be more clustered. Furthermore, all structural properties of the WTW display a remarkable stationarity across years. From a methodological point of view, our paper suggests that a weighted network approach is able to provide more precise conclusions than a binary analysis. Many implications that are indeed valid in binary networks are reversed in our weighted analysis. Finally, we show that all our main results are robust to alternative weighting procedures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2007/17.

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Date of creation: 16 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2007/17

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Keywords: Networks; World trade web; international trade; weighted network analysis; integration; trade openness; globalization;

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References

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  1. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2004. "Fitness-dependent topological properties of the World Trade Web," Papers cond-mat/0403051, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2004.
  2. Raja Kali & Javier Reyes, 2010. "Financial Contagion On The International Trade Network," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1072-1101, October.
  3. Li, Xiang & Ying Jin, Yu & Chen, Guanrong, 2003. "Complexity and synchronization of the World trade Web," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 328(1), pages 287-296.
  4. Barthélemy, Marc & Barrat, Alain & Pastor-Satorras, Romualdo & Vespignani, Alessandro, 2005. "Characterization and modeling of weighted networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 346(1), pages 34-43.
  5. Raja Kali & Javier Reyes, 2007. "The architecture of globalization: a network approach to international economic integration," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(4), pages 595-620, July.
  6. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2005. "Structure and Evolution of the World Trade Network," Papers physics/0502066, arXiv.org, revised May 2005.
  7. Dorogovtsev, S.N. & Mendes, J.F.F., 2003. "Evolution of Networks: From Biological Nets to the Internet and WWW," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198515906, September.
  8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2006:i:34:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Garlaschelli, Diego & Loffredo, Maria I., 2005. "Structure and evolution of the world trade network," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 355(1), pages 138-144.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. I. Tzekina & K. Danthi & D. Rockmore, 2008. "Evolution of community structure in the world trade web," The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 541-545, June.
  2. Arribas, Iván & Pérez, Francisco & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2009. "Measuring Globalization of International Trade: Theory and Evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 127-145, January.
  3. Nepelski, Daniel & De Prato, Giuditta, 2012. "A network analysis of cities hosting ICT R&D," MPRA Paper 38796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Blöchl, Florian & Brück, Tilmann & Theis, Fabian J., 2010. "The Heckscher-Ohlin Model and the Network Structure of International Trade," MPRA Paper 30187, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Dürnecker, Georg & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2012. "Social networks and the process of "globalization"," Working Papers 12-18, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  6. Javier Reyes & Giorgio Fagiolo & Stefano Schiavo, 2008. "Using a complex weighted-network approach to assess the evolution of international economic integration: The cases of East Asia and Latin America," LEM Papers Series 2008/10, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  7. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2007. "Using Complex Network Analysis to Assess the Evolution of International Economic Integration: The cases of East Asia and Latin America," Sciences Po publications 2007/25, Sciences Po.
  8. Giorgio Fagiolo, 2009. "The International-Trade Network: Gravity Equations and Topological Properties," Papers 0908.2086, arXiv.org.
  9. Marco Duenas & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2011. "Modeling the International-Trade Network: A Gravity Approach," LEM Papers Series 2011/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. De Prato, Giuditta & Nepelski, Daniel, 2012. "Global technological collaboration network. Network analysis of international co-inventions," MPRA Paper 38818, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Marco Duenas & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2013. "Global Trade Imbalances: A Network Approach," LEM Papers Series 2013/12, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  12. Luca De Benedictis & Lucia Tajoli, 2009. "The World Trade Network," Working Papers 51-2009, Macerata University, Department of Finance and Economic Sciences, revised Mar 2009.
  13. PAPACCIO, Anna, 2013. "Bilateralism and Multilateralism: a Network Approach," CELPE Discussion Papers 125, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.

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