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On Thursday, March 21, Benjamin Golub joined Markus’ Academy for a conversation on, “Networks in Contagion and Resilience.” This talk will present key concepts, methods, and implications of network modeling. Benjamin Golub is a professor of economics and computer science at Northwestern University.

Watch the full presentation below. You can watch all Markus’ Academy webinars on our Markus’ Academy YouTube Channel.


  • [0:00] Markus’ introduction and poll questions:
  • [6:50] The basic network toy model
  • [19:31] How does this fit into economics?
  • [31:18] How do networks matter intuitively? A second toy model
  • [45:54] Supply chain formation and fragility


Executive Summary

  • A summary in five bullets
    • Networks come up naturally when we think about the mechanics of resilience: they mediate disruption because they describe externalities, spillovers and strategic reactions to these
    • The talk provided an overview of the literature on network theory, focusing on the real economy’s production networks. Golub started by covering the canonical toy model of a network game.
    • Attempts to integrate this basic model into macro models faced some fundamental challenges, with recent advances in the literature showing that these can be overcome by applying linear algebra and associated statistical techniques
    • Golub concluded by presenting his recent work on supply chain disruption, which leveraged percolation theory from physics. It highlighted novel externalities in the formation of supply chains and the fact that resilience policy might be more subtle than previously thought
    • Overall, much work remains to be done in network theory, and much can be gained from leveraging the tools from our allied disciplines
  • Click here for the full summary