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In the paper of business ecosystems, hierarchy is an architectural property that refers to the degree to which transactions proceed in a single direction, from "Upstream" to "Downstream." It is often assumed that a unidirectional flow of goods in a value chain implies a corresponding hierarchy in the transaction networks of firms participating in the chain. However, this is an untested hypothesis: in fact, little is known about whether hierarchy varies across transaction networks, and, if so, what causes such variation.
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