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Hubs and Authorities in the World Trade Network

This paper utilizes the HITS algorithm developed by Jon Kleinberg to explain the changes in hub and authority values of countries in the world trade network (WTN) from 1992 to 2012, and provides an analysis on how and why these changes have led to China currently having the highest authority value in the WTN .

As taught in class, hubs and authorities have a relationship  where the hub values are defined as the quality and quantity of high valued pages they point to and vice versa. In the case of the world trade network, high authority values are associated with high import values and high hub values are associated with the country’s export values. For European countries, authority values have progressively decreased due to the success of the EU network which has led to trade concentrating in Europe, consequently weakening their hub values through a narrowing of linking and therefore their authority value.

As for China’s own active decisions, joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) led to a significant ‘ascension’ in China’s authority value as they were now able to have access to and trade with more and more important global markets. Additionally, China from an early stage, or more aptly as a continuum of classical history, have held a dominant role in the Asian market place. As other Asian markets became more and more powerful over the years, China’s authority has increased due to its central position and intensive trading in this market.

The US’ weaning hegemonic status from the WTN, and the subsequent transfer of this title to China has sprung from the diversity and rising authority of trading partners that China has (like the aforementioned Asian market) vs the US. The United State’s hubs are strong and diverse, but China’s hubs are even more diverse and have more intense trading with countries that the U.S does not as strongly link/trade with such as Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan. This follows from the conclusion reached in class—  hubs that link more heavily and diversely to relevant nodes confer greater authority to the nodes connected to them.

In 1992:

In 2012:

Deguchi, Tsuyoshi et al. “Hubs and authorities in the world trade network using a weighted HITS algorithm” PloS one vol. 9,7 e100338. 22 Jul. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100338s


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