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The Evolution of the World Trade Web

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2007. "The Evolution of the World Trade Web," LEM Papers Series 2007/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2007/17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2006:i:34:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Raja Kali & Javier Reyes, 2007. "The architecture of globalization: a network approach to international economic integration," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 38(4), pages 595-620, July.
    7. 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.
    8. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2004. "Fitness-dependent topological properties of the World Trade Web," Papers cond-mat/0403051, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2004.
    9. D. Garlaschelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2005. "Structure and Evolution of the World Trade Network," Papers physics/0502066, arXiv.org, revised May 2005.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2010. "The evolution of the world trade web: a weighted-network analysis," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 479-514, August.
    2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Blöchl, Florian & Brück, Tilman & Theis, Fabian J., 2011. "The Heckscher-Ohlin model and the network structure of international trade," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 135-145, April.
    3. Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2010. "Using complex networks analysis to assess the evolution of international economic integration: The cases of East Asia and Latin America," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 215-239.
    4. Giuditta Prato & Daniel Nepelski, 2014. "Global technological collaboration network: network analysis of international co-inventions," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 358-375, June.
    5. Marco Dueñas & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2013. "Modeling the International-Trade Network: a gravity approach," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 8(1), pages 155-178, April.
    6. Giorgio Fagiolo, 2010. "The international-trade network: gravity equations and topological properties," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, June.
    7. Alnuaimi, Tufool & Opsahl, Tore & George, Gerard, 2012. "Innovating in the periphery: The impact of local and foreign inventor mobility on the value of Indian patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1534-1543.
    8. Marco Dueñas & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2014. "Global Trade Imbalances: A Network Approach," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 17(03n04), pages 1-29.
    9. Georg Duernecker & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 2012. "Social Networks and the Process of "Globalization"," Economics Working Papers ECO2012/25, European University Institute.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Nepelski, Daniel & De Prato, Giuditta, 2012. "A network analysis of cities hosting ICT R&D," MPRA Paper 38796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Giorgio Fagiolo & Tiziano Squartini & Diego Garlaschelli, 2013. "Null models of economic networks: the case of the world trade web," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 8(1), pages 75-107, April.
    14. Luca De Benedictis & Lucia Tajoli, 2011. "The World Trade Network," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(8), pages 1417-1454, August.
    15. Fan, Ying & Ren, Suting & Cai, Hongbo & Cui, Xuefeng, 2014. "The state's role and position in international trade: A complex network perspective," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 71-81.
    16. 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.
    17. Veysov, Alexander, 2012. "Financial Contagion and Systemic Risk: From Theory to Applicable Macroeconomic Model," MPRA Paper 40612, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Kearney, Colm, 2012. "Emerging markets research: Trends, issues and future directions," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 159-183.
    19. 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;EDP Sciences, vol. 63(4), pages 541-545, June.
    20. repec:eee:appene:v:196:y:2017:i:c:p:100-117 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Franco, Chiara & Montresor, Sandro & Vittucci Marzetti, Giuseppe, 2011. "On indirect trade-related R&D spillovers: The "Average Propagation Length" of foreign R&D," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 227-237, September.
    22. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

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