Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Structural power and the global financial crisis: a network analytical approach


How did the most severe global financial crisis since the 1930s affect the organization of the world political economy? Was Anglo-American structural power in finance eroded? I employ network methodologies that have been recently extended for use with weighted and directed networks to shed light on these questions. I draw from complexity science and political economy to link these empirics to prior theories of structural power, which I refine in several ways. This approach provides unique explanations for developments in global banking since the crisis, including expected outcomes that did not occur: the continuation – and even expansion – of Anglo-American prominence, the decline of continental European prominence, and the lack of emergence of the BRICS economies into the core of the global banking system.

Corresponding author
* Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington, 210 Woodburn Hall, 1100 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, IN 47405–7110, USA, e-mail:
Hide All
AbdollahianMark and YangZining. 2014. “Towards Trade Equalisation: A Network Perspective on Trade and Income Convergence Across the Twentieth Century.” New Political Economy 19 (4): 601627.
BarabásiA.-L., and AlbertR. 1999. “Emergence of Scaling in Random Networks.” Science 286: 509512.
BarnettMichael, and DuvallRaymond. 2005. “Power in International Politics.” International Organization 59 (1): 3975.
BianconiG. and BarabásiA.-L. 2001. “Competition and Multiscaling in Evolving Networks.” Europhysics Letters 54: 436442.
BlockFred. 1987. Revising State Theory: Essays in Politics and Postindustrialism. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
BonacichPhillip. 1987. “Power and Centrality: A Family of Measures.” American Journal of Sociology 92 (5): 11701182.
BorgattiStephen P. 2005. “Centrality and Network Flow.” Social Networks 27 (1): 5571.
BrassDaniel J. and KrackhardtDavid M. 2012. “Power, Politics, and Social Networks in Organizations.” In Politics in Organizations: Theory and Research Considerations, edited by FerrisGerald R., and TreadwayDarren C. New York, NY: Routledge.
BremmerIan, and RoubiniNouriel. 2011. “A G-Zero World.” Foreign Affairs 90 (2): 27.
BurtR., MarsdenP., and RossiP. H. 1985. “A research agenda for survey network data.” Columbia University workshop on survey network data.
CaoXun. 2009. “Networks of Intergovernmental Organizations and Convergence in Domestic Economic Policies.” International Studies Quarterly 53: 10951130.
CaoXun. 2010. “Networks as Channels of Policy Diffusion: Explaining Worldwide Changes in Capital Taxation, 1998–2006.” International Studies Quarterly 54: 823854.
CaoXun. 2012. “Global Networks and Domestic Policy Convergence: A Network Explanation of Policy Changes.” World Politics 64 (3): 375425.
CaoXun and WardMichael D. 2014. “Do Democracies Attract Portfolio Investment? Transnational Portfolio Investments Modeled as Dynamic Network.” International Interactions 40 (2): 216245.
CarpenterR. Charli. 2011. “Vetting the Advocacy Agenda: Network Centrality and the Paradox of Weapons Norms.” International Organization 65 (1): 69102.
CohenBenjamin J. 2000. “Money and Power in World Politics.” In Strange Power, edited by LawtonThomas C., and VerdunAmy C. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
CohenBenjamin J. 2008. “The International Monetary System: Diffusion and Ambiguity.” International Affairs 84 (3): 455470.
CohenBenjamin J. 2009. “A Grave Case of Myopia.” International Interactions 35 (4): 436444.
CohenBenjamin J. 2013. “Money, Power, and Crisis.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, CA.
CohenBenjamin J. and BenneyTabitha M. 2014. “What Does the International Currency System Really Look Like?Review of International Political Economy 21 (5): 10171041.
CohenStephen S., and Bradford DeLongJ. 2010. The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money. New York, NY: Basic Books.
CooleyAlexander, and NexonDaniel H. 2013. “‘The Empire Will Compensate You’: The Structural Dynamics of the US Overseas Basing Network.” Perspectives on Politics 11 (4): 10341050.
CoxRobert W. 1987. Production, Power, and World Order. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
CranmerSkyler J., and DesmaraisBruce A. 2011. “Inferential Network Analysis with Exponential Random Graph Models.” Political Analysis 19 (1): 6686.
CulpepperPepper D. 2011. Quiet Politics and Business Power: Corporate Control in Europe and Japan. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
CulpepperPepper D., and ReinkeRaphael. 2014. “Structural Power and Bank Bailouts in the United Kingdom and the United States.” Politics and Society 42 (4): 427454.
DreznerDaniel W. 2007. All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
DreznerDaniel W. 2014. “The Irony of Global Economic Governance: The System Worked.” World Politics 66 (1): 123164.
EichengreenBarry. 2011. Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
EmmeneggerPatrick. 2015. “The Long Arm of Justice: US Structural Power and International Banking.” Business and Politics 17 (3): 473493.
FarrellHenry. 2013. “There is No Alternative.” Aeon April 25.
FarrellHenry, and NewmanAbraham. 2014a. “Domestic Institutions Beyond the Nation State: Charting the New Interdependence Approach.” World Politics 66 (2): 331363.
FarrellHenry, and NewmanAbraham. 2014b. “The New Politics of Interdependence: Cross-National Layering in Trans-Atlantic Regulatory Disputes.” Comparative Political Studies 48 (4): 497526.
FarrellHenry, and NewmanAbraham. 2015. “Structuring Power: Business and Authority Beyond the Nation State.” Business and Politics 17 (3): 527552.
FreemanLinton C. 1978. “Centrality in Social Networks: Conceptual Clarification.” Social Networks 1: 215239.
GermainRandall D. 1997. The International Organization of Credit. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
GermainRandall. 2009. “Financial Order and World Politics: Crisis, Change and Continuity.” International Affairs 4: 669687.
GermainRandall. 2011. “Power, the State and Global Politics After the Great Freeze: Towards a New Articulation?” In Uniting Struggles: Critical Social Research in Critical Times, edited by FanelliCarlo, and LefebvrePriscillia. Ottawa, ON: Red Quill Books.
GilardiFabrizio. 2012. “Transnational diffusion: Norms, ideas, and policies.” In Handbook of International Relations, edited by CarlsnaesWalter, RisseThomas, and SimmonsBest. SAGE Publications.
GillStephen R. and LawDavid. 1989. “Global Hegemony and the Structural Power of Capital.” International Studies Quarterly 33 (4): 475–299.
GourinchasPierre-Olivier, and ReyHélène. 2007. “From World Bank to World Venture Capitalist: US Extenal Adjustment and the Exorbitant Privilege.” In G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, edited by ClaridaRichard H. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
GraeberDavid. 2011. Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn, New York: Melville House Publishing.
GrayJulia, and PotterPhilip B.K. 2012. “Trade and Volatility at the Core and Periphery of the Global Economy.” International Studies Quarterly 56 (4): 793800.
HackerJacob S. and PiersonPaul. 2010. “Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States.” Politics and Society 38 (2): 152204.
Hafner-BurtonEmilie, and MontgomeryAlexander. 2006. “Power Positions: International Organizations, Social Networks, and Conflict.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 50 (1): 327.
Hafner-BurtonEmilie, KahlerMiles, Montgomeryand Alexander H. 2009. “Network Analysis for International Relations.” International Organization 63: 559592.
HartJeffrey. 1974. “Structures of Influence and Cooperation-Conflict.” International Interactions 1: 141162.
HartJeffrey. 1976. “Three Approaches to the Measurement of Power in International Relations.” International Organization 30 (2): 289305.
HelleinerEric. 1994. States and the Emergence of Global Finance. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
HelleinerEric. 2010. “A Bretton Woods moment? The 2007–2008 crisis and the future of global finance.” International Affairs 3 (April): 619636.
HelleinerEric. 2011. “Understanding the 2007–2008 Global Financial Crisis: Lessons for Scholars of International Political Economy.” Annual Review of Political Science 14: 6787.
HelleinerEric. 2014. The Status Quo Crisis: Global Financial Governance After the 2008 Meltdown. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
KeohaneRobert O. 1984. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
KeohaneRobert O. 2002. “The Globalization of Informal Violence, Theories of World Politics, and the Liberalism of Fear.” Dialogue IO 1 (1): 2943.
KeohaneRobert O. and NyeJoseph S.Jr. 1977. Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.
KeohaneRobert O. and NyeJoseph S.Jr. 1987. “Power and Interdependence revisited.” International Organization 41 (4): 725753.
KindlebergerCharles. 1973. The World in Depression, 1929–1939. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
KirschnerJonathan. 2007. Appeasing Bankers: Financial Caution on the Road to War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
KirshnerJonathan. 2014. American Power after the Financial Crisis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
KnokeDavid. 1990. Political Networks: The Structural Perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
KnokeD. and BurtR. S. 1983. “Prominence.” In Applied Network Analysis: A Methodological Introduction, edited by BurtR. S., and MinerM. J. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., pp. 195222.
LakeDavid A. 2009. “Open Economy Politics: A Critical Review.” The Review of International Organizations 4 (3): 219244.
LindblomCharles E. 1977. Politics and Markets: The World's Political Economic Systems. New York, NY: Basic Books.
MalkielBurton. 1973. A Random Walk Down Wall Street. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company.
MilnerHelen, and SnyderJack. 1988. “Lost Hegemony?International Organization 42 (4): 749750.
NewmanM. E. J. 2005. “Power Laws, Pareto Distributions and Zipf's Law.” Contemporary Physics 46: 323351.
NexonDaniel H. 2009. The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
NitzanJonathan, and BichlerShimshom. 2009. Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder. London: Routledge.
NorrlofCarla. 2014. “Dollar Hegemony: A Power Analysis.” Review of International Political Economy 21 (5): 10421070.
OatleyThomas. 2011. “The Reductionist Gamble: Open Economy Politics in the Global Economy.” International Organization 65 (2): 311341.
OatleyThomas. 2015. A Political Economy of American Hegemony: Military Booms, Buildups, and Busts. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
OatleyThomas, and Kindred WinecoffW. 2012. “The Domestic Rooting of Financial Regulation in an Era of Global Capital Markets.” In Research Handbook on Hedge Funds, Private Equity and Alternative Investments, edited by AthanassiouPhoebus. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
OatleyThomas, Kindred WinecoffW., Bauerle DanzmanSarah, and PennockAndrew. 2013. “The Political Economy of Global Finance: A Network Model.” Perspectives on Politics 11 (1): 133153.
OpsahlTore, AgneessensFilip, and SkvoretzJohn. 2010. “Node Centrality in Weighted Networks: Generalizing Degree and Shortest Paths.” Social Networks 32 (3): 245251.
PanitchLeo, and GindinSam. 2012. The Making of Global Capialism: The Political Economy of American Empire. London, UK: Verso.
RoosJérôme E. 2013. “Between the Streets and the Trading Floors: Popular Resistance and the Structural Power of Financial Capital in the European Debt Crisis.” Presentation at the 4th Annual Meeting of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy, The Hague, Netherlands, July 9–11.
SimmonsBeth A. 2001. “The International Politics of Harmonization: The Case of Capital Market Regulation.” International Organization 55 (3): 589620.
SimonHerbert A. 1962. “The Architecture of Complexity.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106 (6): 467482.
SlaughterAnne-Marie. 2012. “A Grand Strategy of Network Centrality.” In America's Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration, edited by FountaineRichard, and LordKristin M. Center for a New American Security pp. 4356.
SmithJason M., HalginDaniel S., Kidwell-LopezVirginie, LabiancaGiuseppe, BrassDaniel J., and BorgattiStephen P. 2014. “Power in Politically Charges Networks.” Social Networks 36: 162176.
SobelAndrew C. 2012. Birth of Hegemony: Crisis, Financial Revolution, and Emerging Global Networks. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
StarrsSean. 2013. “American Economic Power Hasn't Declined – It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously.” International Studies Quarterly 57 (4): 817830.
StrangeSusan. 1982. “ Cave! hic dragones: a critique of regime analysis.” International Organization 36 (2): 479496.
StrangeSusan. 1987. “The Persistent Myth of Lost Hegemony.” International Organization 41 (4): 551574.
StrangeSusan. 1988. “The Persistent Myth of Lost Hegemony: Reply to Milner and Snyder.” International Organization 42 (4): 751752.
StrangeSusan. 1998. States and Markets. 2nd ed. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.
StrogatzSteven H. 2001. “Exploring Complex Networks.” Nature 410: 268276.
SubramanianArvind. 2011a. Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance. Institute for International Economics.
SubramanianArvind. 2011b. “Renminbi Rules: The Conditional Imminence of the Reserve Currency Transition.” Peterson Institute for International Economics Working Paper 11–14.
ToozeRoger, and MayChristopher. 2002. Authority and Markets: Susan Strange's Writings on International Political Economy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
WallersteinImmanuel. 2010. “Structural Crises.” New Left Review 62 (March–April): 133142.
WardMichael D., AhlquistJohn S., and RozenasArturas. 2013. “Gravity's Rainbow: Dynamic Networks Models of International Commerce.” Network Science 1 (1): 95118.
WinecoffW. Kindred. 2013. “Global Banking As a Complex Political Economy.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL.
WollCornelia. 2014. The Power of Inaction: Bank Bailouts in Comparison. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
YoungKevin. 2015. “Not by Structure Alone: Power, Prominence, and Agency in American Finance.” Business and Politics 17 (3): 443472.
ZakariaFareed. 2009. The Post-American World. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Business and Politics
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1469-3569
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 8 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 164 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.