Geography versus topology in the european ownership network

Authors: Stefania Vitali and Stefano Battiston

New Journal of Physics (2011)

Projects: Economic Geography

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the network of ownership relationships among European firms and its embedding in the geographical space.We carry out a detailed analysis of geographical distances between pairs of nodes, connected by edges or by shortest paths of varying length. In particular, we study the relation between geographical distance and network distance in comparison with a random spatial network model. While the distribution of geographical distance can be fairly well reproduced, important deviations appear in the network distance and in the size of the largest strongly connected component. Our results show that geographical factors allow us to capture several features of the network, while the deviations quantify the effect of additional economic factors at work in shaping the topology. The analysis is relevant to other types of geographically embedded networks and sheds light on the link formation process in the presence of spatial constraints.