Tobias Reisch: “Inferring supply networks from mobile phone data to estimate systemic risk of an economy”

Aug 22, 2022Aug 26, 2022

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CSH scientist Tobias Reisch will give an online talk at the 61th ERSA Congress, which takes place Aug 22–26, 2022 virtual and onsite in Pécs, Hungary.


This year’s congress title: Disparities in a Digitalising (Post-Covid) world – Networks, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development


Exact time tba.




National economies rest on networks of millions of customer-supplier relations. Some companies — in the case of their default — can trigger significant cascades of shock in the supply-chain network and are thus systemically risky. Up to now, systemic risk of individual companies was practically not quantifiable, due to the unavailability of firm-level transaction data. So far, economic shocks are typically studied in the framework of input-output analysis on the industry-level that can’t relate risk to individual firms. Exact firm-level supply networks based on tax or payment data exist only for very few countries.


Here we explore to what extent telecommunication data can be used as an inexpensive, easily available, and real-time alternative to reconstruct national supply networks on the firm-level.


We find that the conditional probability of correctly identifying a true customer-supplier link — given a communication link exists — is about 90%. This quality level allows us to reliably estimate a systemic risk profile of an entire country that serves as a proxy for the resilience of its economy. In particular, we are able to identify the high systemic risk companies. We find that 65 firms have the potential to trigger large cascades of disruption in production chains that could cause severe damages in the economy.


We verify that the topological features of the inter-firm communication network are highly similar to national production networks with exact firm-level interactions.



About the 61st ERSA Congress


The ERSA congress “Disparities in a Digitalising (Post-Covid) world – Networks, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development” will host a large variety of themes in entrepreneurship, social-economic, regional-urban economics, regional development, and regional policy topics like local governance and institutions. The Congress has also the ambition to have a stronger interdisciplinary dimension featuring contributions from social sciences, engineering and big data.


With approximately 800 participants every year from all continents, the ERSA congresses have become the largest academic event in regional science worldwide. There is simply no better place to present your research results, network and/or exchange, find out about new developments in the field, and just to meet colleagues and friends.


Aug 22, 2022
Aug 26, 2022


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University of Pécs
Rákóczi street 80
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