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Global Trade Imbalances: A Network Approach

  • Marco Duenas
  • Giorgio Fagiolo

We study trade imbalances between world countries in the period 1960-2000 using a complex-network approach. We show that trade imbalances in absolute value are characterized by a hierarchical arrangement wherein few rich economies display high clustering and carry an important amount of global-trade imbalances. In contrast, trade imbalances in relative terms show a more fragmented topology, with less concentrated clustering which is particularly high for emergent economies. In addition, we find that traditional null random-network models and the gravity model poorly predict the topology of trade imbalance networks. Our main finding is that the evolution of the international trade has caused very heterogeneous imbalances in world economies, which may have important consequences for global instability and development

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2013/12.

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Date of creation: 21 May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2013/12
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  1. 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.
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  3. Giorgio Fagiolo & Tiziano Squartini & Diego Garlaschelli, 2011. "Null Models of Economic Networks: The Case of the World Trade Web," LEM Papers Series 2011/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  4. D. Garlaschelli & T. Di Matteo & T. Aste & G. Caldarelli & M. I. Loffredo, 2007. "Interplay between topology and dynamics in the World Trade Web," The European Physical Journal B - Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 159-164, 05.
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  7. Giorgio Fagiolo & Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo, 2007. "On the Topological Properties of the World Trade Web: A Weighted Network Analysis," Papers 0708.4359,
  8. Javier Reyes & Stefano Schiavo & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2008. "Assessing The Evolution Of International Economic Integration Using Random Walk Betweenness Centrality: The Cases Of East Asia And Latin America," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 11(05), pages 685-702.
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  10. Marchetti, Juan & Ruta, Michele & Teh, Robert, 2012. "Trade imbalances and multilateral trade cooperation," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2012-23, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
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  16. Richard Baldwin & Daria Taglioni, 2006. "Gravity for Dummies and Dummies for Gravity Equations," NBER Working Papers 12516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Tiziano Squartini & Giorgio Fagiolo & Diego Garlaschelli, 2011. "Randomizing world trade. I. A binary network analysis," Papers 1103.1243,, revised Nov 2011.
  18. Thierry Bracke & Matthieu Bussière & Michael Fidora & Roland Straub, 2008. "A framework for assessing global imbalances," Occasional Paper Series 78, European Central Bank.
  19. 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.
  20. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  22. Matteo Barigozzi & Giorgio Fagiolo & Diego Garlaschelli, 2009. "Multinetwork of international trade: A commodity-specific analysis," Papers 0908.1879,, revised Jun 2010.
  23. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-81, August.
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  25. Tiziano Squartini & Giorgio Fagiolo & Diego Garlaschelli, 2011. "Randomizing world trade. II. A weighted network analysis," Papers 1103.1249,, revised Nov 2011.
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