Interlocking Corporate Directorates and the Global City Hierarchy

Jeffrey Kentor, Adam Sobek, Michael Timberlake


This paper examines the direct and indirect economic linkages of the most prominent cities in the world, those commonly referred to as global cities, in terms of the direct and indirect linkages of the boards of directors of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered in a given city with boards of directors of other firms. Specifically, we identify the interlocks of corporate boards located within these major cities with other Fortune 500 boards of directors by degrees of separation, and present a new ranking for selected global cities based upon these direct and indirect ties. We find that New York clearly dominates these economic linkages, followed by London and Paris. This is most pronounced for financial companies. Contrary to other global city rankings, we locate Tokyo below Frankfurt and Chicago on this dimension. We argue that these multiple levels of indirect relationships reflect a significant, and until now unexplored, dimension of what it means to be a global city.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Jeffrey Kentor, Adam Sobek, Michael Timberlake

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