Construct validity in world city network research: From office location networks to inter-organisational projects in the analysis of intercity business flows

Authors: Vladimir Pazitka*, University of Oxford, Dariusz Wójcik, University of Oxford, Eric Knight, University of Sydney
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Interlocking World City Network Model (IWCNM), business flows, financial and business services, advanced producer services, world city network
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8222, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Interlocking World City Network Model (IWCNM) and other office location approaches (OLAs) have become the most widely used empirical models of the world city network (WCN) over the last two decades. Despite numerous methodological improvements, they still rely on Taylor’s (2001) legacy of using data on office locations of firms to indirectly estimate intercity business flows. In investigating whether urban network structures based on bipartite projections of firm – city affiliation matrices offer valid representations of actual intercity business flows, we develop a new model based on directly observable business flows, termed the inter-organisational project approach (IOPA). We argue this offers a better specified model of intercity business flows based on the project activity that firms conduct to enact corporate strategy. We illustrate this approach using a global sample of 161,114 investment bank underwriting syndicates in the 2000 – 2015 period. We deductively argue for IOPA’s content and construct validity as an empirical model of the WCN and offer empirical evidence for its structural validity. We also compare network structures derived from office location and inter-organisational project approaches, thus conducting the first empirical test of convergent validity of the IWCNM and other OLAs as empirical models of the WCN.

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