Systemic risk: the dynamics of model banking systems

Robert M. May, Nimalan Arinaminpathy


The recent banking crises have made it clear that increasingly complex strategies for managing risk in individual banks have not been matched by corresponding attention to overall systemic risks. We explore some simple mathematical caricatures for ‘banking ecosystems’, with emphasis on the interplay between the characteristics of individual banks (capital reserves in relation to total assets, etc.) and the overall dynamical behaviour of the system. The results are discussed in relation to potential regulations aimed at reducing systemic risk.


    • Received August 14, 2009.
    • Accepted October 1, 2009.
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