Networks of International Trade and Investment

Understanding globalization through the lens of network analysis

by Matthew Smith (University of Greenwich), Alessia Amighini (University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy), Sara Gorgoni (University of Greenwich)

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In recent decades, the globalisation of industries has led to a fundamental change to the way in which production is structured. There has been a disintegration of production, in other words, products are no longer manufactured in their entirety in a single location. This disintegration, or rather fragmentation, of production, has resulted in a shift-change in patterns of international trade and investment such as a rise in the trade of intermediate goods and in foreign direct investment activity (FDI). This international fragmentation of production, in which multinational enterprises (MNEs) have played a focal role, challenges our ability to understand and analyse the international economy.
The global value chain is one leading theoretical approach that seeks to make sense of these changes. However, this approach is limited due to its functional difficulty in aggregating observations from firm-level to national-level. Changes in trade and FDI patterns have resulted in a more interconnected world economy. However, understanding the interdependencies between entities involved in the fragmented production process is essential in order to understand how production is organised today. Therefore, traditional methods and statistical approaches are no longer considered sufficient.
This edited book makes a case for the use of network analysis alongside existing techniques in order to investigate pressing issues in international business and economics. The authors put forward a range of well-informed studies that examine compelling topics such as the role of emerging economies in global trade and the evolution of world trade patterns. This book looks at how network analysis, as both an approach and a methodology, can explain international business and economics phenomena, in particular, in relation to international trade and investment.
This edited volume provides a comprehensive but accessible explanation of the applications of network analysis and some of the most recent methodological advances in its field, which provide an important contribution to research in international trade and investment.

Table of content


Chapter 1: Network Analysis and the study of international trade and investments (the eds)

Chapter 2: Structure and evolution of the world’s historical trade patterns (Vandermalier, Standaert, Ronsee)

Chapter 3: World Trade Atlas: A new network geometry approach to international trade (Serrano, Bogunya, Garcia)

Chapter 4: World Input-Output Network: Applications, Implications and future directions (Riccaboni and Zhu)

Chapter 5: Local and translocal linkages in the Aereospace industry: An emerging small world? (Kali, Turkina, van Assche)

Chapter 6: The changing role of emerging countries in world trade (Tajoli&De Benedictis)

Chapter 7: A Network Analysis of Foreign Direct Investments (De Masi and Ricchiuti)

Chapter 8: A multi-level network analysis of international trade and corporate ownership (Smith, Gorgoni, Cronin)

Chapter 9: Structure and evolution of the free trade agreement network (Sopranzetti)

Chapter 10: Moving people: A network Analysis of International Migration (Sciabolazza)


Dr. Sara Gorgoni has an MA in Political Economy from the University of Essex and a PhD in Development Economics from Roma Tre University. She has been Senior Lecturer in Economic Sociology at the University of Greenwich, London, since 2010, where she specialises in business economics and network analysis. She is currently involved in several projects investigating the relationship between global networks in trade and investments. She has also conducted research on foreign direct investment from emerging countries, innovation networks, clusters of SMEs and global value chains. Moreover, she has carried out research for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Bank and other United Nations agencies. Her work has been published in several world-famous journals including the International Business Review and World Economy.

Dr. Alessia Amighini is an International economist who specialises in China. She works as Adjunct Professor at the University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy, and at the Catholic University in Milan, Italy. She is also Associate Senior Research Fellow in the Asian division at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies and Senior Fellow at the Bocconi University SDA China Lab. Amighini has published extensively on the expansion of Chinese firms abroad and the impact of globalisation on production organisation in high ranked journals such as China Economic Review, China and the World Economy, and International Economics. She has also published several books that include: The Chinese Economy (with S. Chiarlone, 2006), Xi Jinping's policy gambles: The bumpy road ahead (with A. Berkofski, 2015), The Chinese economy in the XXI century (with F. Lemoine, forthcoming) and L'économie chinoise au XXIème siècle (with F. Lemoine, forthcoming).

Matthew Smith is a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich, London. He graduated in Mathematics from the University of Manchester with a speciality in Network Science. He is currently studying the process of globalisation and related phenomena by applying advanced network analysis techniques to the analysis of trade and investments.

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Networks of International Trade and Investment
Book Subtitle
Understanding globalization through the lens of network analysis
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Publication date
March 2018