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Risk-Sharing and Contagion in Networks

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  • Antonio Cabrales
  • Piero Gottardo
  • Fernando Vega-Redondo

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate how the capacity of an economic system to absorb shocks depends on the specific pattern of interconnections established among financial firms. The key trade-off at work is between the risk-sharing gains enjoyed by firms when they become more interconnected and the large-scale costs resulting from an increased risk exposure. We focus on two dimensions of the network structure: the size of the (disjoint) components into which the network is divided, and the "relative density" of connections within each component. We find that when the distribution of the shocks displays "fat" tails extreme segmentation is optimal, while minimal segmentation and high density are optimal when the distribution exhibits "thin" tails. For other, less regular distributions intermediate degrees of segmentation and sparser connections are also optimal. We also find that there is typically a conflict between efficiency and pairwise stability, due to a "size externality" that is not internalized by firms who belong to components that have reached an individually optimal size. Finally, optimality requires perfect assortativity for firms in a component.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2013/01.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2013/01

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Keywords: Firm networks; Contagion; Risk Sharing;

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  1. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Working Papers 178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Helmut Elsinger & Alfred Lehar & Martin Summer, 2006. "Risk Assessment for Banking Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1301-1314, September.
  3. Nier, Erlend & Yang, Jing & Yorulmazer, Tanju & Alentorn, Amadeo, 2008. "Network models and financial stability," Bank of England working papers 346, Bank of England.
  4. Xavier Freixas & Bruno Parigi & Jean Charles Rochet, 1998. "Systemic risk, interbank relations and liquidity provision by the Central Bank," Economics Working Papers 440, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 1999.
  5. Allen, Franklin & Babus, Ana & Carletti, Elena, 2011. "Asset Commonality, Debt Maturity and Systemic Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 8476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Goyal, Sanjeev & Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2007. "Structural holes in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 460-492, November.
  7. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Rahmi Ilkiliç, 2004. "Pairwise-Stability and Nash Equilibria in Network Formation," Working Papers 182, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Asuman Ozdaglar & Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi, 2013. "Systemic Risk and Stability in Financial Networks," NBER Working Papers 18727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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