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RESEARCH ARTICLE A Network of Networks Perspective on Global Trade

By Julian Maluck and Reik V. Donner


Mutually intertwined supply chains in contemporary economy result in a complex network of trade relationships with a highly non-trivial topology that varies with time. In order to under-stand the complex interrelationships among different countries and economic sectors, as well as their dynamics, a holistic view on the underlying structural properties of this network is necessary. This study employs multi-regional input-output data to decompose 186 national economies into 26 industry sectors and utilizes the approach of interdependent net-works to analyze the substructure of the resulting international trade network for the years 1990–2011. The partition of the network into national economies is observed to be compati-ble with the notion of communities in the sense of complex network theory. By studying internal versus cross-subgraph contributions to established complex network metrics, new insights into the architecture of global trade are obtained, which allow to identify key ele-ments of global economy. Specifically, financial services and business activities dominate domestic trade whereas electrical and machinery industries dominate foreign trade. In order to further specify each national sector’s role individually, (cross-)clustering coefficients an

Year: 2016
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