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The network of global corporate control


  • Stefania Vitali
  • James B. Glattfelder
  • Stefano Battiston


The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic "super-entity" that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.

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  • Stefania Vitali & James B. Glattfelder & Stefano Battiston, 2011. "The network of global corporate control," Papers 1107.5728,, revised Sep 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1107.5728

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Santos, Joao A.C. & Rumble, Adrienne S., 2006. "The American keiretsu and universal banks: Investing, voting and sitting on nonfinancials' corporate boards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 419-454, May.
    2. Brioschi, Francesco & Buzzacchi, Luigi & Colombo, Massimo G., 1989. "Risk capital financing and the separation of ownership and control in business groups," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(4-5), pages 747-772, September.
    3. J. B. Glattfelder & S. Battiston, 2009. "Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control," Papers 0902.0878,, revised Aug 2009.
    4. Marc Goergen, 2005. "Corporate Governance Convergence: Evidence From Takeover Regulation Reforms in Europe," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 243-268, Summer.
    5. Gillan, Stuart L. & Starks, Laura T., 2000. "Corporate governance proposals and shareholder activism: the role of institutional investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 275-305, August.
    6. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2006. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1403-1417, September.
    7. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2008. "The World-Trade Web: Topological Properties, Dynamics, and Evolution," LEM Papers Series 2008/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    8. Becht, Marco & Bolton, Patrick & Roell, Ailsa, 2003. "Corporate governance and control," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 1-109 Elsevier.
    9. Davis, Gerald F. & Kim, E. Han, 2007. "Business ties and proxy voting by mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 552-570, August.
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