A new published research paper, DebtRank: Too Central to Fail? Financial Networks, the FED and Systemic Risk : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group,  introduces DebtRank, a system that analyzes a new and unique dataset on the USD 1.2 trillion FED emergency loans program to global financial institutions during 2008–2010.

The authors find  that a group of 22 institutions, which received most of the funds, form a strongly connected graph where each of the nodes becomes systemically important at the peak of the crisis.  The default of each one would have a larger economic impact on the whole network. Even small, dispersed shocks to individual banks could thus have triggered the default of a large portion of the system. The authors note that because the network of impact used in the study is a proxy of the real, unknown network, the findings should be regarded with caution, but the study shows the kinds of insights that can be gained using DebtRank. Read the full paper.  

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