International Economic Integration: Comparing Exports and FDI Networks in the New Millennium

  •  Adelaide Baronchelli    
  •  Teodora Erika Uberti    


Trade and foreign direct investments (FDI) represent the real and the capital side of international economic integration. While Network Analysis (NA) on world trade network (WTN) is wide, few analyses describe world investment networks (WIN), since FDI data suitable for comparison are very scarce and very complex to collect. In this paper, we exploit FDI Bilateral Statistics by UNCTAD (2014), to compare WTN and WIN in the first decade of the new millennium, before and after 2008 crisis. Results show that all countries are integrated since there are few isolated economies, and unique largest components emerge confirming the complexity of global value chain. 2008 economic crisis affected WTN, but not WIN. Geography, rather than economic similarity, is crucial in defining trading connections and cohesive subgroups. WIN and WTN links are mutual in all networks, confirming that once a link is established, it is easier to maintain all commercial relations. WIN and WTN key players are USA, Germany and China for Exports, while USA and Germany for FDI. There is a positive association between couplets of WTN and WIN links, conjecturing that FDI and Exports networks could be complements, rather than substitute.

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