Financial Networks and Contagion
39 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2012 Last revised: 28 Nov 2022
Date Written: January 1, 2014
We model contagions and cascades of failures among organizations linked through a network of financial interdependencies. We identify how the network propagates discontinuous changes in asset values triggered by failures (e.g., bankruptcies, defaults, and other insolvencies) and use that to study the consequences of integration (each organization becoming more dependent on its counterparties) and diversification (each organization interacting with a larger number of counterparties). Integration and diversification have different, nonmonotonic effects on the extent of cascades. Initial increases in diversification connect the network which permits cascades to propagate further, but eventually, more diversification makes contagion between any pair of organizations less likely as they become less dependent on each other. Integration also faces tradeoffs: increased dependence on other organizations versus less sensitivity to own investments. Finally, we illustrate some aspects of the model with data on European debt cross-holdings.
Keywords: financial networks, networks, contagion, cascades, financial crises, bankruptcy, diversification, integration, globalization
JEL Classification: G32, D85, G01, F36, G33, G38, F15
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