1st Edition

Contagion and the Responsibility of Networks From Pandemics to Financial Crises and Fake News

By Pietro Battiston Copyright 2025
    288 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The term “contagion” and the theory of networks is nowadays employed to study increasingly diverse issues such as financial crises, epidemics, and fake news. It provides a unifying framework to describe various social and economic phenomena that occur within different networks — involving various forms of contagion.

    This book discusses contagion over social and economic networks, and its consequences for modern societies. It starts with an accessible but solid introduction to basic concepts of the theory of networks, with intuitive explanations and examples both of networks that shape our daily lives, and of how researchers analyze them. It then focuses specifically on contagion, and on its importance for societies. Three crucial examples are analyzed more in depth: epidemiological contagion, fake news and financial crises. The conclusions show how various societal problems — each consequence of some form of contagion — call for similar policy measures: a pre-emptive and comprehensive effort in collecting the required information, and a shift in the concept of individual responsibility itself.

    This is a book for any reader looking interested in how contagions and networks shape modern society.

    1. What are networks?

    2. Externalities and contagion

    3. Epidemics and networks

    4. Information diffusion as contagion

    5. Epidemics in finance

    6. Network responsibility



    Pietro Battiston is an Assistant Professor in Economics at University of Pisa, Italy. After a degree in Mathematics, he obtained an MSc in Economics from University of Bologna and a PhD in Economics from University of Milan Bicocca. His main research interests are Network Theory, Experimental Economics, Tax Compliance and Bibliometrics. He has published on prestigious international journals including Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Health Policy, World Development, Games and Economic Behavior. He is active in the popularization of economics via articles on general media, talks in festivals, online videos. His website is https://pietrobattiston.it.