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Risques à grande échelle dans les systèmes en réseau : quelques interrogations


  • Erwann Michel-Kerjan


During the last few years, the connection of complex networks has accelerated in a spectacular manner. Some of the advantages of this increasing use are well-known and are studied by theoretical works (network externalities). Nevertheless, this interconnection has created new types of risks where the potential consequences have themselves evolved into proportions that were unthinkable a few years ago. This note deals with the principle risks of interconnection using a theoretical and empirical approach. By examining concrete cases, we suggest that technological complexity may permit vulnerabilities by allowing dependencies and interdependencies between networks to go unrecognized until a major failure occurs. Once a major failure takes place, the network reacts as a catalyst creating catastrophic consequences. The management of such risks appears even more complicated than these emerging risks in their actual form. La mise en connexion de réseaux complexes s'est accélérée au cours des dernières années de manière spectaculaire. Certains des avantages de cette utilisation grandissante sont bien connus et étudiés par la théorie économique (économie d'échelle de l'offre et de la demande et effet de club). Cependant, cette interconnexion a créé de nouveaux types de risques dont l'échelle des conséquences potentielles a elle-même évolué dans des proportions impensables quelques années auparavant. Cette note met en lumière de manière introductive quelques-uns des principaux risques en question dans une problématique théorique reposant sur des cas concrets. Le plus souvent, le réseau oeuvre comme un moyen physique de propagation du sinistre qui atteint alors un nombre plus grand de victimes, plus rapidement, et de manière ubiquitaire. Ces spécificités sont dues principalement à la dépendance au réseau et à l'interdépendance entre les réseaux. La gestion de tels risques apparaît d'autant plus complexe que ces risques sont émergents dans leur forme actuelle.

Suggested Citation

  • Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2000. "Risques à grande échelle dans les systèmes en réseau : quelques interrogations," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-02, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2000s-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Economides, 1997. "The Economics of Networks," Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco.
    2. S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
    3. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    4. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1995. "Decision Making under Ignorance: Arguing with Yourself," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 15-36, January.
    5. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Wakker, Peter, 1995. "Risk Attitudes and Decision Weights," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1255-1280, November.
    7. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
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