The Architecture of Power: Patterns of Disruption and Stability in the Global Ownership Network
74 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2019 Last revised: 26 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 12, 2019
It is today widely understood that the global economy is a densely interconnected network that affects the everyday lives of billions of people. In particular, the network structure can amplify financial instability, exacerbate wealth and income inequality, and hamper investments in climate change mitigation. However, little is known about how the global economic network evolves over time and specifically how a major disruptive event, such as the 2008 financial crisis, may have reshaped its structure. Here we show that, although many actors gain or lose their position of influence over time, overall, economic power structures are remarkably robust to shocks and that power remains extremely concentrated in the hands of a few individuals and organisations. While previous works have been restricted by limitations, our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of the entire global ownership network over time. Our results provide an explanation for how a global economic shock, while negatively affecting many individuals can have only a marginal impact on the existing power structures.
Keywords: ownership, control, shareholders, power, networks, complex networks, economic networks, complex systems, influence index, corporate governance
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