The Topology of Macro Financial Flows: An Application of Stochastic Flow Diagrams

44 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2014 Last revised: 27 May 2014

See all articles by Neil Calkin

Neil Calkin

Clemson University

Marcos Lopez de Prado

Cornell University - Operations Research & Industrial Engineering; Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; True Positive Technologies

Date Written: February 8, 2014


A large portion of Macroeconomic and Financial research is built upon classical applications of Linear Algebra (such as regression analysis) and Stochastic Calculus (such as valuation models). As a result, most Macroeconomic and Financial research has inherited a focus on geometric locations rather than logical relations. Ideally, Econometric models could be complemented with Topological and Graph-Theoretical tools that recognize the hierarchy and relationships between system constituents.

Stochastic Flow Diagrams (SFDs) are topological representations of complex dynamic systems. We construct a network of financial instruments and show how SFDs allow researchers to monitor the flow of capital across the financial system. Because our approach is dynamic, it models how and for how long a financial shock propagates through the system. Practical applications include stress-testing of investment portfolios under user-defined scenarios, and the discovery of Macro trading opportunities. SFDs add Topology to the Econometrics toolkit used by Macroeconomists, and may enlighten long-standing controversies, such as the one involving Keynesians and Austrian-school economists. Our findings have important implications for regulators, market designers and Macro investors.

Keywords: Time Series, Graph Theory, Topology, Financial Flows, Macro Trading

JEL Classification: G0, G1, G2, G15, G24, E44

Suggested Citation

Calkin, Neil and López de Prado, Marcos and López de Prado, Marcos, The Topology of Macro Financial Flows: An Application of Stochastic Flow Diagrams (February 8, 2014). Algorithmic Finance 2014, 3:1-2, 43-85, Available at SSRN: or

Neil Calkin

Clemson University ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States


Marcos López de Prado (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Operations Research & Industrial Engineering ( email )

237 Rhodes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States


Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ( email )

211 Corniche Road
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi PO Box3600
United Arab Emirates


True Positive Technologies ( email )

United States


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