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Global networks of trade and bits

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  • Massimo Riccaboni

    ()

  • Alessandro Rossi

    ()

  • Stefano Schiavo

    ()

Abstract

Considerable efforts have been made in recent years to produce detailed topologies of the Internet, but so far these data have been overlooked by economists. In this paper, we suggest that such information could be used to characterize both the size of the digital economy and outsourcing at country level. We analyse the topological structure of the network of trade in digital services (trade in bits) and compare it with the more traditional flow of manufactured goods across countries. To perform meaningful comparisons across networks with different characteristics, we define a stochastic benchmark for the number of connections among each country-pair, based on hypergeometric distribution. Original data are filtered so that we only focus on the strongest, i.e. statistically significant, links. We find that trade in bits displays a sparser and less hierarchical network structure, which is more similar to trade in high-skill manufactured goods than total trade. Moreover, distance plays a more prominent role in shaping the network of international trade in physical goods than trade in digital services. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Riccaboni & Alessandro Rossi & Stefano Schiavo, 2013. "Global networks of trade and bits," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 8(1), pages 33-56, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jeicoo:v:8:y:2013:i:1:p:33-56
    DOI: 10.1007/s11403-012-0101-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sgrignoli, Paolo & Metulini, Rodolfo & Schiavo, Stefano & Riccaboni, Massimo, 2015. "The relation between global migration and trade networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 417(C), pages 245-260.
    2. Rodolfo Metulini & Massimo Riccaboni & Paolo Sgrignoli & Zhen Zhu, 2017. "The Indirect Effects of FDI on Trade: A Network Perspective," Working Papers 04/2017, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Mar 2017.
    3. Zhang, Shuhong & Wang, Lin & Liu, Zhixin & Wang, Xiaofan, 2016. "Evolution of international trade and investment networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 462(C), pages 752-763.
    4. Zhen Zhu & Greg Morrison & Michelangelo Puliga & Alessandro Chessa & Massimo Riccaboni, 2015. "The Similarity of Global Value Chains: A Network-Based Measure," Papers 1508.04392, arXiv.org.
    5. Rodolfo Metulini & Paolo Sgrignoli & Stefano Schiavo & Massimo Riccaboni, 2014. "The migration network effect on international trade," Working Papers 5/2014, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised May 2014.
    6. Zhen Zhu & Federica Cerina & Alessandro Chessa & Guido Caldarelli & Massimo Riccaboni, 2014. "The rise of China in the international trade network: a community core detection approach," Working Papers 4/2014, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Apr 2014.
    7. Shamnaaz Sufrauj & Stefano Schiavo & Massimo Riccaboni, 2015. "Big hits, export concentration and volatility," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 32(2), pages 135-166, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; International trade; Network analysis; Distance; Outsourcing; Hypergeometric; F14; L86; O33;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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