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

See all articles by James Glattfelder

James Glattfelder

Department of Banking and Finance, UZH

Stefano Battiston

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: January 12, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Glattfelder, James and Battiston, Stefano, The Architecture of Power: Patterns of Disruption and Stability in the Global Ownership Network (January 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3314648 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3314648

James Glattfelder (Contact Author)

Department of Banking and Finance, UZH ( email )

Schönberggasse 1
Zürich, 8001
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.bf.uzh.ch/cms/en/glattfelder.james.html

Stefano Battiston

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Andreasstrasse 15
Zürich, 8050
Switzerland

Swiss Finance Institute

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

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