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Communicability and communities in complex socio-economic networks

Estrada, Ernesto and Hatano, Naomichi (2010) Communicability and communities in complex socio-economic networks. In: Econophysics Approaches to Large-Scale Business Data and Financial Crisis. Springer, Tokyo, pp. 271-288. ISBN 104431538526

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Abstract

The concept of communicability is introduced for complex socio-economic networks. The communicability function expresses how an impact propagates from one place to another in the network. This function is used to define unambiguously the concept of socio-economic community. The concept of temperature in complex socio-economic networks is also introduced as a way of accounting for the external stresses to which such systems are submitted. This external stress can change dramatically the structure of the communities in a network. We analyze here a trade network of countries exporting ‘miscellaneous manufactures of metal.’ We determine the community structure of this network showing that there are 27 communities with diverse degree of overlapping. When only communities with less than 80% of overlap are considered we found five communities which are well characterized in terms of geopolitical relationships. The analysis of external stress on these communities reveals the vulnerability of the trade network in critical situations, i.e., economical crisis. The current approach adds an important tool for the analysis of socio-economic networks in the real world.