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Structure and Dynamics of the Global Economy: Network Analysis of International Trade 1965-1980


This article reports results from a quantitative network analysis of international commodity trade flows designed to measure the structure of the world economic system and to identify the roles that particular countries play in the global division of labor. It improves on previous network-analytic studies of the world-economy in two ways. First, by using a newly developed measure of regular equivalence, this operationalization of a nation's roles in the international system is methodologically superior to previous work. Second, we have built a dynamic aspect into the analysis by examining international trade networks at more than one point in time (1965, 1970, and 1980). This allows us to answer questions about change both in the overall structure of the world-economy and in the positions of particular countries in the system. Our findings generally conform to the theoretically expectations of the world-system perspective as well as qualitative descriptions of recent changes in the international division of labor. © 1992 The University of North Carolina Press.

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