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 https://bluejeans.com/278429915 and the Meeting ID is 278 429 915.