Battiston, S. & Catanzaro, M. Eur. Phys. J. B (2004) 38: 345. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2004-00127-8
The boards of directors of the largest corporations of a country together with the directors form a dense bipartite network. The board network consists of boards connected through common directors. The director network is obtained taking the directors as nodes, and a membership in the same board as a link. These networks are involved in the decision making processes relevant to the macro-economy of a country. We present an extensive and comparative analysis of the statistical properties of the board network and the director network for the first 1000 US corporations ranked by revenue (“Fortune 1000”) in the year 1999 and for the corporations of the Italian Stock Market. We find several common statistical properties across the data sets, despite the fact that they refer to different years and countries. This suggests an underlying universal formation mechanism which is not captured in a satisfactory way by the existent network models. In particular we find that all the considered networks are Small Worlds, assortative, highly clustered and dominated by a giant component. Several other properties are examined. The presence of a lobby in a board, a feature relevant to decision making dynamics, turns out to be a macroscopic phenomenon in all the data sets.