The multi-layer network nature of systemic risk and its implications for the costs of financial crises

Poledna, Sebastian; Molina-Borboa, José Luis; Martínez-Jaramillo, Serafín; van der Leij, Marco; Thurner, Stefan
The inability to see and quantify systemic financial risk comes at an immense social cost. Systemic risk in the financial system arises to a large extent as a consequence of the interconnectedness of its institutions, which are linked through networks of different types of financial contracts, such as credit, derivatives, foreign exchange, and securities. The interplay of the various exposure networks can be represented as layers in a financial multi-layer network. In this work we quantify the daily contributions to systemic risk from four layers of the Mexican banking system from 2007 to 2013. We show that focusing on a single layer underestimates the total systemic risk by up to 90{\%}. By assigning systemic risk levels to individual banks we study the systemic risk profile of the Mexican banking system on all market layers. This profile can be used to quantify systemic risk on a national level in terms of nation-wide expected systemic losses. We show that market-based systemic risk indicators systematically underestimate expected systemic losses. We find that expected systemic losses are up to a factor of four higher now than before the financial crisis of 2007-2008. We find that systemic risk contributions of individual transactions can be up to a factor of one thousand higher than the corresponding credit risk, which creates huge risks for the public. We find an intriguing non-linear effect whereby the sum of systemic risk of all layers underestimates the total risk. The method presented here is the first objective data-driven quantification of systemic risk on national scales that reveal its true levels.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
Cascading failure; Financial regulation; Multiplex networks; Quantitative social science; Risk propagation; Systemic risk mitigation
Journal of Financial Stability
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