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Identifying systemically important companies by using the credit network of an entire nation

The notions of systemic importance and systemic risk of financial institutions are closely related to the topology of financial liability networks. In this work, we reconstruct and analyze the financial liability network of an entire economy using data of 50,159 firms and banks.

Our analysis contains 80.2% of the total liabilities of firms towards banks and all interbank liabilities in the Austrian banking system. The combination of firm-bank networks and interbank networks allows us to extend the concept of systemic risk to the real economy. In particular, the systemic importance of individual companies can be assessed, and for the first time, the financial ties between the financial and the real economy become explicitly visible. We find that firms contribute to systemic risk in similar ways as banks do.

We identify a set of mid-sized companies that carry substantial systemic risk. Their default would affect up to 40% of the Austrian financial market. We find that all firms together create more systemic risk than the entire financial sector. In 2008, the total systemic risk of the Austrian interbank network amounted to only 29% of the total systemic risk of the entire financial network consisting of firms and banks. The work demonstrates that the notions of systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) can be directly extended to firms.


S. Poledna, A. Hinteregger, S. Thurner, Identifying systemically important companies by using the credit network of an entire nation, Entropy 20 (10) (2018) 792

Stefan Thurner @ Franziska Liehl, President of the Complexity Science Hub

Stefan Thurner

Sebastian Poledna

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