Mapping specialisations in the automotive international trade: a multilayer network analysis

Margherita Russo and Fabrizio Alboni
Department of Economics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Keywords: international trade; regional specialisation; automotive components and parts; dynamics of change; Infomap multilayer analysis

JEL: F14 Empirical Studies of Trade; L62 Automobiles, Other Transportation Equipment, Related Parts and Equipment; D85 Network Formation and Analysis: Theory



In the economic literature on international trade in the automotive global value chains, there is an increasing number of papers using network analysis. Although contributing at understanding the centrality of given regions and countries, they do not address which is the contribution of the various commodities in structuring the relative position of countries.

In this paper we compare the results of analysis of international trade networks in the automotive global value chains that use centrality indexes (Gorgoni, Amighini, & Smith, 2018) with the results that are obtained from the Infomap multilayer analysis (Rosvall & Bergstrom, 2008; De Domenico et al., 2015).

Database on auto parts and components is drawn from UNComtrade (directed export and import flows, weighed by the value of the flow), before Nafta, before the economic crisis and the most updated data (1993, 2003, 2013, 2017). Infomap multilayers flows and network indices are computed by identifying as layers four main product groups (for example: Electrical and Electric Parts, Rubber and Metal Parts, Engines and Parts, Miscellaneous Parts) and 30 components, by year.

The paper addresses two main issues. (1) Mapping the geography of the trade relations that emerge from community detection. (2) Changes in the relative positions of countries and specialisations over time.