Research on the dynamic change of goods trade network structure and its impact mechanism of countries along the Belt and Road

TANG Xiaobin1 CUI Maosheng1

(1.School of Statistics, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China 100029)

【Abstract】With the continuous progress of regional economic integration, the trade network of countries along the Belt and Road is changing constantly. The trade relationships between countries are becoming more and more complicated, intertwined and interdependent. However, most previous literature on the trade network of countries along the Belt and Road tends to focus on the descriptions of static features of network topology, and there is a lack of explanation on the dynamic change and its mechanism. This paper tried to explain the dynamic change of goods trade network structure and its impact mechanism of countries along the Belt and Road. We built temporal exponential random graph model (TERGM) and separable temporal exponential random graph model (STERGM), using dynamic network analysis to study the change of goods trade network structure and its impact mechanism of countries along the Belt and Road. We found out that the dynamic network models TERGM and STERGM overcome the shortcomings of traditional ERGM method, which is limited to static analysis, and can well capture the impact mechanism of the change of goods trade network structure; the structure of network has a certain heterogeneity, and there is a “rich club” phenomenon in the network. This phenomenon is related to the increasing hierarchical effect in the network; the forming and maintaining of the trade relationships are significantly affected by the countries’ economy. Countries with high economic development levels have stronger tendency to trade, but after the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, this tendency has weakened, and the probability for countries with low economic development levels to expand trade relations has increased. The conclusion of this paper indicates that China should complement the industries with countries along the Belt and Road to make them develop comparative advantages, coordinate trade competition among countries, and establish and maintain multilateral and multi-level regional partnerships. The academic value of this paper could be concluded in two aspects. In research content, this paper analyzes the dynamic change of goods trade network structure and its impact mechanism of countries along the Belt and Road, and discusses the positive role of the Belt and Road Initiative on promoting trade relations between countries, as well as difficulties and challenges. It is of great realistic significance for continuing to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, balancing the interests of trade among countries and eliminating the possible trade frictions between China and other countries in the future. In research methods, this paper builds TERGM and STERGM including endogenous and exogenous factors to study the change of goods trade network structure of countries along the Belt and Road and discuss its impact mechanism. The Dynamic Network Analysis method in this paper provides a new research idea for analyzing the change of goods trade network structure of countries along the Belt and Road.

【Keywords】 countries along the Belt and Road; the structure of goods trade network; dynamic change and its impact mechanism; TERGM and STERGM;

【DOI】

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ISSN:1001-9952

CN: 31-1012/F

Vol 46, No. 07, Pages 138-153

July 2020

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