Small World Behavior and Power Law Distribution in Product Networks


Many consumer products and their accessories form a web structure (product network) where products may complement one another, act as potential substitutes to one or more products, or derive their existence because of one or more products. Most real world networks such as communication networks, and the World Wide Web exhibit a high clustering coefficient and low characteristic path length that is typical of a small world network. The clustering coefficient provides an indication of the cliqueness in the network while the characteristic path length indicates the average separation of nodes in a network. It has been well documented that many real world networks are characterized by properties of preferential attachment and open-endedness. In this paper, an experimental study was conducted to analyze the product network for the existence of the small world phenomenon and validate the existence of preferential attachment and open-endedness properties using the rank exponent power law. This study helps to understand the characteristics of a product network structure such as the one exhibited by the consumer products.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Power Laws; Product Network; Small-World Network

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 International Journal of Industrial Engineering, All rights reserved.