The Lehman Brothers effect and bankruptcy cascades

Paweł Sieczka , Didier Sornette , Janusz Hołyst


Inspired by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and its consequences on the global financial system, we develop a simple model in which the Lehman default event is quantified as having an almost immediate effect in worsening the credit worthiness of all financial institutions in the economic network. In our stylized description, all properties of a given firm are captured by its effective credit rating, which follows a simple dynamics of co-evolution with the credit ratings of the other firms in our economic network. The dynamics resembles the evolution of Potts spin-glass with external global field corresponding to a panic effect in the economy. The existence of a global phase transition, between paramagnetic and ferromagnetic phases, explains the large susceptibility of the system to negative shocks. We show that bailing out the first few defaulting firms does not solve the problem, but does have the effect of alleviating considerably the global shock, as measured by the fraction of firms that are not defaulting as a consequence. This beneficial effect is the counterpart of the large vulnerability of the system of coupled firms, which are both the direct consequences of the collective self-organized endogenous behaviors of the credit ratings of the firms in our economic network.
Author Paweł Sieczka
Paweł Sieczka,,
, Didier Sornette
Didier Sornette,,
, Janusz Hołyst (FP / LPESS)
Janusz Hołyst,,
- Center of Physics in Economics and Social Sciences
Journal seriesEuropean Physical Journal B, ISSN 1434-6028, (A 25 pkt)
Issue year2011
Keywords in EnglishCondensed Matter Physics, Fluid- and Aerodynamics, Physics, general, Solid State Physics, Statistical Physics, Dynamical Systems and Complexity
ASJC Classification3104 Condensed Matter Physics; 2504 Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)25
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 20; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2011 = 0.89; WoS Impact Factor: 2011 = 1.534 (2) - 2011=1.414 (5)
Citation count*42 (2020-02-20)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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