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date: 27 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter critically reviews the stream of literature that has recently applied the theory of complex networks to the study of international trade. It surveys three interrelated lines of research. First it discusses descriptive work aimed at characterizing the topological properties of the international trade network (ITN) and their evolution. Second, it describes simple models that can replicate and explain those empirical properties. Third, it looks at how the topological properties of the ITN can be used as predictors of the future performance of world countries and the diffusion of economic shocks. Finally, the chapter argues that a promising avenue for future research in this field may involve analyzing in a common network framework not only trade relations but also other bilateral linkages among countries, including, inter alia, finance, investment, and human mobility.

Keywords: international trade, complex networks, trade agreements, gravity models, community-detection techniques, diffusion of shocks

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