The paper analyzes how (production and financial) inter-firm networks can affect firms’ default probabilities and observed default rates. A
simple theoretical model of shock transfer is built to investigate some stylized facts on how firm-idiosyncratic shocks are allocated in the network, and how this allocation changes firm default probabilities. The model shows that the network works as a perfect “risk-pooling” mechanism, when it is both strongly connected and symmetric. But the “risk-sharing” does not necessarily reduce default rates, unless the shock firms face is lower on average than their financial capacity. Conceived as cases of symmetric inter-firm networks, industrial districts might have a comparative disadvantage in front of heavy crises.
JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY ECONOMICS p. 711–734 no. 22