The International Postal Network and Other Global Flows as Proxies for National Wellbeing.


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Authors
Hristova, Desislava  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5618-7327
Rutherford, Alex 
Anson, Jose 
Luengo-Oroz, Miguel 
Mascolo, Cecilia 
Abstract

The digital exhaust left by flows of physical and digital commodities provides a rich measure of the nature, strength and significance of relationships between countries in the global network. With this work, we examine how these traces and the network structure can reveal the socioeconomic profile of different countries. We take into account multiple international networks of physical and digital flows, including the previously unexplored international postal network. By measuring the position of each country in the Trade, Postal, Migration, International Flights, IP and Digital Communications networks, we are able to build proxies for a number of crucial socioeconomic indicators such as GDP per capita and the Human Development Index ranking along with twelve other indicators used as benchmarks of national well-being by the United Nations and other international organisations. In this context, we have also proposed and evaluated a global connectivity degree measure applying multiplex theory across the six networks that accounts for the strength of relationships between countries. We conclude by showing how countries with shared community membership over multiple networks have similar socioeconomic profiles. Combining multiple flow data sources can help understand the forces which drive economic activity on a global level. Such an ability to infer proxy indicators in a context of incomplete information is extremely timely in light of recent discussions on measurement of indicators relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Description
Keywords
International Cooperation, Postal Service, Socioeconomic Factors
Journal Title
PLoS One
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1932-6203
1932-6203
Volume Title
11
Publisher
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Sponsorship
European Commission (318132)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K019392/1)
Project LASAGNE Contract No. 318132 (STREP) - funded by the European Commission