Myth of the triad? The geography of trade and investment 'blocs'

J P H Poon, Edmund Thompson, Philip Kelly

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43 Citations (SciVal)


The notion that the world is increasingly divided into a triad of economic regions based on North America, the European Union and Japan has become a form of conventional wisdom across a range of disciplines. However, despite the near ubiquitous use of the idea of a triadized world, it remains a somewhat normative assertion, the empirical existence of which has yet to be demonstrated. By using the intramax method to analyze the intensity of international trade and foreign direct investment flows during 1985 and 1995, we examine the changing shape of trade and investment ‘blocs’ globally. We find that while international trade is increasingly organized around fewer world regions, the presumed outcome of a triad‐based world economy remains questionable. We further show that investment intensity patterns do not currently conform to any bloc‐like formation, but exhibit instead, globally diffused network regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2004


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