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Globalized economy more sensitive to recessions
Date:10/18/2010

m of business practices is readily swapped throughout the trade network. Since it matches the conditions for our theory, we hypothesized that it would also follow the same physical rules."

To test their idea, He and Deem had to create a mathematical description of the global trade network. Scientists often use a tree-like structure to study networks -- much like a geneologist might use a family tree to describe family relationships. By applying a tree-like geometry to the U.N. data, Deem and He computed a variable called the "CCC" that described the amount of modularity in the global trade network for any given year. In a "flattened" global economy, CCC is low, and it increases as modularity in the trade network increases. Examples of increased modularity could include protectionist tariffs or regional trade associations, each of which acts to restrain trade between countries.

"Another of our predictions was that recessions would cause the world trade network to become more hierarchical, and this is something that was borne out by the data as well," Deem said. "With increasing globalization, we see the CCC trending down since 1969, but we also see it increasing, for a brief period, after each recession."

Deem and He found the trend held true for three major recessions and four minor ones over the past four decades.


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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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