Modeling international crisis synchronization in the World Trade Web
Trade is a fundamental pillar of economy and a form of social organization. Its empirical characterization at the worldwide scale is represented by the World Trade Web (WTW), the network built upon the trade relationships between the different countries. Several scientific studies have focused on the structural characterization of this network, as well as its dynamical properties, since we have registry of the structure of the network at different times in history. In this paper we study an abstract scenario for the development of global crises on top of the structure of connections of the WTW. Assuming a cyclic dynamics of national economies and the interaction of different countries according to the import-export balances, we are able to investigate, using a simple model of pulse-coupled oscillators, the synchronization phenomenon of crises at the worldwide scale. We focus on the level of synchronization measured by an order parameter at two different scales, one for the global system and another one for the mesoscales defined through the topology. We use the WTW network structure to simulate a network of Integrate-and-Fire oscillators for six different snapshots between years 1950 and 2000. The results reinforce the idea that globalization accelerates the global synchronization process, and the analysis at a mesoscopic level shows that this synchronization is different before and after globalization periods: after globalization, the effect of communities is almost inexistent.
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