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Stability and Complexity in Financial Ecosystems

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Recent events have made it clear that complex financial instruments (derivatives and their kin), which allegedly enabled individual banks and investment funds to get good returns with minimal risks, had dynamical properties which were poorly understood. In particular, it is astonishing that essentially no attention was given to the overall systemic risks posed by these instruments. Deliberately oversimplified mathematical caricatures of “banking ecosystems”, which capture some of the essential dynamics and which have parallels (along with significant differences) with earlier work on stability and complexity in ecological food webs, have interesting implications. This talk will first sketch these models, giving particular attention to the role of “confidence” in propagating shocks, and will conclude with an outline of ensuing regulatory implications.

Everyone is welcome. Free for members, £2 on the door for non-members. Followed by refreshments (that means smoothies, cheese and grapes!).

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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