Financial Transaction Networks Describe and Model Economic Systems
Dissertation Defense
Past Event
Carolina Mattsson
Network Science PhD Candidate
Mar 23, 2020
Watch video
2:00 pm
177 Huntington Ave
11th floor

Financial transactions are the fundamental unit of economic activity, and we would like to be able to study how many millions of transactions come together to create an economy as a whole. This dissertation develops the network science, computational tools, and economic theory that we need to be able to do so. Specifically, I present a theoretically grounded approach to studying financial transaction records from real-world payment systems as network of monetary flow. Applied to a mobile money system in East Africa, my results show that specific economic actions move money over networks with prominent hubs, random structure, communities, and cliques. Further work shows that considering public-facing digital payment systems, or even whole (toy) economies, as a network of monetary flow can dramatically improve our intuitions about their operation.

The defense will now be remote. The meeting link is and the Meeting ID is 278 429 915.

About the speaker
Carolina is a PhD Candidate working with David Lazer. She is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow using her dissertation to develop network analysis tools and modeling frameworks for financial transaction networks. She works extensively with collaborators in industry to apply her methods towards understanding real payment systems. Specifically, she is mapping and analyzing mobile money systems in two developing countries. As a part of the Lazer Lab, Carolina is working to finalize several projects in computational social science that center around making digital trace and administrative data useful to researchers. Prior to joining the Network Science PhD Program, Carolina earned a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. International Relations from Lehigh University. She has roots in Sweden and New Mexico.