The network of global corporate control

November 7, 2011

Unfortunately, though there are many books and articles written on the tight grip multinational corporations have on global governance, there is relatively little empirical research conducted on this matter. This recently published paper by Swiss researchers however provides some practical empirical evidence and background research on the network of global corporate control:


The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic “super-entity” that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.  

 According to this study the top 10 most powerful corporations today are the following:

  1. Barclays PLC
  2. Captial Group Companies INC
  3. FMR Corp
  4. AXA
  5. State Street Corporation
  6. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  7. Legal & General Group PLC
  8. Vanguard Group, Inc.
  9. UBS AG
  10. Merrill Lynch & Co.

Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, Stefano Battiston

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