IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Structure and Evolution of Buyer-Supplier Networks

  • Takayuki Mizuno

    (National Institute of Informatics, Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, The Canon Institute for Global Studies)

  • Wataru Souma

    (College of Science and Technology, Nihon University)

  • Tsutomu Watanabe

    (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, The Canon Institute for Global Studies)

Registered author(s):

    In this paper, we investigate the structure and evolution of customer-supplier networks in Japan using a unique dataset that contains information on customer and supplier linkages for more than 500,000 incorporated non-financial firms for the five years from 2008 to 2012. We find, first, that the number of customer links is unequal across firms; the customer link distribution has a power-law tail with an exponent of unity (i.e., it follows Zipf’s law). We interpret this as implying that competition among firms to acquire new customers yields winners with a large number of customers, as well as losers with fewer customers. We also show that the shortest path length for any pair of firms is, on average, 4.3 links. Second, we find that link switching is relatively rare. Our estimates indicate that the survival rate per year for customer links is 92 percent and for supplier links 93 percent. Third and finally, we find that firm growth rates tend to be more highly correlated the closer two firms are to each other in a customer-supplier network (i.e., the smaller is the shortest path length for the two firms). This suggests that a non-negligible portion of fluctuations in firm growth stems from the propagation of microeconomic shocks – shocks affecting only a particular firm – through customer-supplier chains.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics in its series UTokyo Price Project Working Paper Series with number 018.

    in new window

    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:upd:utppwp:018
    Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Tokyo 702 Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan
    Phone: +81-3-3812-2111
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upd:utppwp:018. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Yayoi Hatano)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.