As the recent crisis has forcefully suggested, understanding financial-market interconnectedness is of a paramount importance to explain systemic risk, stability and economic dynamics. In this paper, we address these issues along two related perspectives. First, we explore the statistical properties of the International Financial Network (IFN), defined as a weighted-directed graph where nodes are countries and links represent debtor–creditor relationships in equities and short/long-run debt. We investigate whether the 2008 financial crisis has resulted in a significant change in the topological properties of the IFN. Our findings suggest that the crisis caused not only a reduction in the amount of securities traded, but also induced changes in the topology of the network and in the time evolution of its statistical properties. This has happened, however, without changing the disassortative, core-periphery structure of the IFN architecture. Second, we perform an econometric study to examine the ability of network-based measures to explain cross-country differences in crisis intensity. We investigate whether the conclusion of previous studies showing that international connectedness is not a relevant predictor of crisis intensity may be reversed, once one explicitly accounts for the position of each country within the IFN. We show that higher interconnectedness reduces the severity of the crisis, as it allows adverse shocks to dissipate quicker. However, being central in the network may make countries that are not members of a rich club more vulnerable in times of crisis. Finally, we find strong evidence of nonlinear effects, once the high degree of heterogeneity that characterizes the IFN is taken into account.
Recommended citation: Chinazzi, M., Fagiolo, G., Reyes, J. A., & Schiavo, S. (2013). "Post-mortem examination of the international financial network". Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 37(8), 1692-1713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jedc.2013.01.010.