The World-Trade Web: Topological Properties, Dynamics, and Evolution
Physical Review E, Vol. 79, No. 3, 2009
Posted: 24 May 2011
Date Written: 2009
This paper studies the statistical properties of the web of import-export relationships among world countries using a weighted-network approach. We analyze how the distributions of the most important network statistics measuring connectivity, assortativity, clustering, and centrality have coevolved over time. We show that all node-statistic distributions and their correlation structure have remained surprisingly stable in the last 20 years – and are likely to do so in the future. Conversely, the distribution of (positive) link weights is slowly moving from a log-normal density towards a power law. We also characterize the autoregressive properties of network-statistics dynamics. We find that network-statistics growth rates are well-proxied by fat-tailed densities like the Laplace or the asymmetric exponential power. Finally, we find that all our results are reasonably robust to a few alternative, economically meaningful, weighting schemes.
Keywords: Networks, World Trade Web, International Trade, Weighted Network Analysis, Integration, Globalization
JEL Classification: F10, D85
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