Abstract. We analyze the link between virtual water trade, that is, the flow of water embodied in the international trade of agricultural goods, and vulnerability to external shocks from the vantage point of network analysis. While a large body of work has shown that virtual water trade can enhance water saving on a global scale, being especially beneficial to arid countries, there are increasing concerns that more openness makes countries more dependent on foreign food suppliers and, in this way, more prone to external shocks. Our evidence reveals that the increased globalization witnessed in the last 30 years is not associated with the increased frequency of adverse shocks (in food production). Furthermore, building on recent advances in network analysis that connect the stability of a complex system to its topological features, we find that the world is more interconnected, but not necessarily less stable.

PUBLICATION: Sartori, M., & Schiavo, S. (2014). Virtual water trade and country vulnerability: A network perspective