An Analysis of Power Law Distributions & Tipping Points During the Global Financial Crisis

Posted: 10 Jun 2018

See all articles by John R. Evans

John R. Evans

Centre for Analysis of Complex Financial Systems

Date Written: January 1, 2018

Abstract

Heavy tailed distributions have been observed for various financial risks and papers have observed that these heavy tailed distributions are power law distributions. The breakdown of a power law distribution is also seen as an indicator of a tipping point being reached and a system then moves from stability through instability to a new equilibrium. In this paper, we analyse the distribution of operational risk losses in US banks, credit defaults in US corporates and market risk events in the US during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). We conclude that market risk and credit risk do not follow a power law distribution, and even though operational risk follows a power law distribution, there is a better distribution fit for operational risk. We also conclude that whilst there is evidence that credit defaults and market risks did reach a tipping point, operational risk losses did not. We conclude that the government intervention in the banking system during the GFC was a possible cause of banks avoiding a tipping point.

Keywords: Global Financial Crisis, Power Law Distribution, Tipping Point, Credit Risk, Market Risk, Operational Risk

JEL Classification: G15, G18

Suggested Citation

Evans, John R., An Analysis of Power Law Distributions & Tipping Points During the Global Financial Crisis (January 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3184683

John R. Evans (Contact Author)

Centre for Analysis of Complex Financial Systems ( email )

PO Box 363
Summer Hill, 2130
Australia

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