Critical Nodes In Directed Networks

Owen Sims, Robert P. Gilles

Critical nodes or "middlemen" have an essential place in both social and economic networks when considering the flow of information and trade. This paper extends the concept of critical nodes to directed networks. We identify strong and weak middlemen. Node contestability is introduced as a form of competition in networks; a duality between uncontested intermediaries and middlemen is established. The brokerage power of middlemen is formally expressed and a general algorithm is constructed to measure the brokerage power of each node from the networks adjacency matrix. Augmentations of the brokerage power measure are discussed to encapsulate relevant centrality measures. We use these concepts to identify and measure middlemen in two empirical socio-economic networks, the elite marriage network of Renaissance Florence and Krackhardt's advice network.

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