Skip to main content

Measuring Systemic Risk


We present a simple model of systemic risk and show how each financial institution’s contribution to systemic risk can be measured and priced. An institution’s contribution, denoted systemic expected shortfall (SES), is its propensity to be undercapitalized when the system as a whole is undercapitalized, which increases in its leverage, volatility, correlation, and tail-dependence. Institutions internalize their externality if they are “taxed” based on their SES. Through several examples, we demonstrate empirically the ability of components of SES to predict emerging systemic risk during the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

JEL codes: G01, G18

Key words: systemic risk, risk pricing, systemic expected shortfall, risk internalization


Suggested citation: Acharya, Viral V., Lasse H. Pedersen, Thomas Philippon, and Matthew Richardson, 2010. “Measuring Systemic Risk,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 10-02.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 09.15.22

    FedUniversity: Internships at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

    Join us on September 15, noon to 1:00pm, to learn about the Cleveland Fed’s annual internship program.

  • 09.29.22

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022, co-sponsored by the Center for Inflation Research and the European Central Bank will take place on September 29-30, 2022 in Cleveland, OH.

  • 10.06.22

    Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is sponsoring the Annual Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications in Macroeconomics and Finance to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Reserve Bank on Thursday and Friday, October 6–7, 2022.

  • 11.07.22

    Women in Economics Symposium

    Join the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the Women in Economics Symposium, which aims to encourage women to pursue a career in economics by discussing the successful career paths of diverse economics professionals and raising awareness of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

  • 11.17.22

    2022 Financial Stability Conference: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their 10th annual financial stability conference on November 17–18, 2022. This year’s conference is titled Financial Stability: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges.