This article contributes to the converging literatures on global production networks and new regionalism, which show that these two entities and their respective geographic scales are complexly interdependent. It explores two key conceptual differences between the leading world city network studies of Alderson and Beckfield and the work of the Global and World City (GaWC) Research Network. The first is the sectoral differentiation of the data, in which the former focuses on multinational corporations in all industrial sectors and the latter specifically targets only advanced producer services. The second involves methodological differences that lead to dissimilar network structures. Alderson and Beckfield made only a basic hierarchical differentiation of the firms, while the GaWC study used a more elaborate classification method. Combining these approaches, we explore firms' global and regional interdependencies (their centrality within their network and its structure). Using a single data set of the top 100 global multinationals (2005) and their ownership linkages with thousands of subsidiaries in 2,259 unique cities worldwide. The findings not only reveal the nodal centralities and linkage structures within the "all industrial sector" network and the "producer service sector" network but also show a strong correlation between these two networks, specifically toward the apex of the economic systems, and evidence of the coexistence of hierarchical and heterarchical city network structures.

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Economic Geography
Erasmus School of Economics

Wall, R., & van der Knaap, B. (2011). Sectoral Differentiation and Network Structure Within Contemporary Worldwide Corporate Networks. Economic Geography, 87(3), 267–308. doi:10.1111/j.1944-8287.2011.01122.x