Macroprudential Oversight, Risk Communication and Visualization

42 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2015

See all articles by Peter Sarlin

Peter Sarlin

Hanken School of Economics; RiskLab Finland

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 23, 2015


This paper discusses the role of risk communication in macroprudential oversight and of visualization in risk communication. Beyond the soar in data availability and precision, the transition from firm-centric to system-wide supervision imposes vast data needs. Moreover, in addition to internal communication as in any organization, broad and effective external communication of timely information related to systemic risks is a key mandate of macroprudential supervisors. This further stresses the importance of simple representations of complex data. The present paper focuses on the background and theory of information visualization and visual analytics, as well as techniques within these fields, as potential means for risk communication. We define the task of visualization in risk communication, discuss the structure of macroprudential data, and review visualization techniques applied to systemic risk. We conclude that two essential, yet rare, features for supporting the analysis of big data and communication of risks are analytical visualizations and interactive interfaces. For visualizing the so-called macroprudential data cube, we provide the VisRisk platform with three modules: plots, maps and networks. While VisRisk is herein illustrated with five web-based interactive visualizations of systemic risk indicators and models, the platform enables and is open to the visualization of any data from the macroprudential data cube.

Keywords: macroprudential oversight, risk communication, visualization, analytical visualization, interactive visualization, VisRisk

JEL Classification: G01, G15, F37, F38, F47

Suggested Citation

Sarlin, Peter, Macroprudential Oversight, Risk Communication and Visualization (March 23, 2015). ECB Working Paper No. 1768, Available at SSRN:

Peter Sarlin (Contact Author)

Hanken School of Economics

PO Box 479
FI-00101 Helsinki

RiskLab Finland ( email )

Turku, 20520


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