Triadic Motifs and Dyadic Self-Organization in the World Trade Network

  • Tiziano Squartini
  • Diego Garlaschelli
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7166)


In self-organizing networks, topology and dynamics coevolve in a continuous feedback, without exogenous driving. The World Trade Network (WTN) is one of the few empirically well documented examples of self-organizing networks: its topology depends on the GDP of world countries, which in turn depends on the structure of trade. Therefore, understanding the WTN topological properties deviating from randomness provides direct empirical information about the structural effects of self-organization. Here, using an analytical pattern-detection method we have recently proposed, we study the occurrence of triadic ‘motifs’ (three-vertices subgraphs) in the WTN between 1950 and 2000. We find that motifs are not explained by only the in- and out-degree sequences, but they are completely explained if also the numbers of reciprocal edges are taken into account. This implies that the self-organization process underlying the evolution of the WTN is almost completely encoded into the dyadic structure, which strongly depends on reciprocity.


Gross Domestic Product Null Model Real Network Directed Network Degree Sequence 
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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiziano Squartini
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Diego Garlaschelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituut-Lorentz for Theoretical Physics, Leiden Institute of PhysicsUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of SienaItaly
  3. 3.Center for the Study of Complex SystemsSienaItaly

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