Using complex networks analysis to assess the evolution of international economic integration: The cases of East Asia and Latin America
This paper exploits recently-developed indicators based on network analysis to investigate the pattern of international integration followed by East Asian countries and compares it with the Latin American performance. Standard trade openness indicators fall short of portraying the peculiarity of the Asian experience, and of explaining why other emerging markets with similar characteristics have been less successful over the last 25 years. The analysis offers an alternative perspective on the issue regarding international economic integration by taking into account the whole structure of international trade relationships and by determining both the position of countries in the world trade network, and its evolution over time. We find that East Asian countries are more integrated into the world economy, as they have moved from the periphery of the network towards its core. Our results support the idea that the degree of openness matters but it is not enough to characterize economic integration. The number and identity of trade partners, and the specific individual structure of trade for each country, need to be incorporated in order to fully characterize international economic integration. By doing so, it is possible to argue that the integration process of the East Asian countries mirrors their high economic performance, while the lower degree of integration of Latin America can be related to the lack of economic development of the region, even though their degree of openness has increased.
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Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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