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Entropies of Negative Incomes, Pareto-Distributed Loss, and Financial Crises

By Jianbo Gao, Jing Hu, Xiang Mao, Mi Zhou, Brian Gurbaxani and Johnny Lin


Health monitoring of world economy is an important issue, especially in a time of profound economic difficulty world-wide. The most important aspect of health monitoring is to accurately predict economic downturns. To gain insights into how economic crises develop, we present two metrics, positive and negative income entropy and distribution analysis, to analyze the collective “spatial” and temporal dynamics of companies in nine sectors of the world economy over a 19 year period from 1990–2008. These metrics provide accurate predictive skill with a very low false-positive rate in predicting downturns. The new metrics also provide evidence of phase transition-like behavior prior to the onset of recessions. Such a transition occurs when negative pretax incomes prior to or during economic recessions transition from a thin-tailed exponential distribution to the higher entropy Pareto distribution, and develop even heavier tails than those of the positive pretax incomes. These features propagate from the crisis initiating sector of the economy to other sectors

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

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