Investigating the Asymmetric Core/Periphery Structure of International Labor Time Flows

A New Network Approach to Studying the World-System




World-systems theory, labor time flows, core/periphery hierarchy, network analysis, oligarchic wealth


This paper studies the core/periphery hierarchy of the capitalist world-economy in the current globalization era. The central and novel argument is that the network of international labor time flows reveals the core/periphery hierarchy of the world-economy with regard to the international division of labor. Based on the analysis of the labor time network of forty economies from the world input-output table, I find that the core/periphery structure of the world-economy has in large part remained unaltered for 1995-2009, though the asymmetry of international labor time flows decreased slightly between 2003-2009. Through regression analysis, I find that per capita income of a country is strongly associated with its command over global labor time. The regression analysis also lends evidence to the existence of oligarchic wealth. This wealth is not available to all countries, implying that the struggle of a country to improve its position in the capitalist world-economy tends to put downward pressure on the income of other countries.


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How to Cite

Zhao, J. (2021). Investigating the Asymmetric Core/Periphery Structure of International Labor Time Flows: A New Network Approach to Studying the World-System. Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(1), 231–264.