The GCFP is an MIT-wide initiative under the aegis of the MIT Sloan School of Management’s Finance Group. A group of faculty affiliates from around MIT contribute to its research and educational mission.
Deborah Lucas is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy.
Her recent research has focused on measuring and accounting for the costs and risks of government financial obligations. An expert on federal credit programs, she has testified before Congress on budgeting for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, student loans, and on strategically important financial institutions. Her academic publications cover a wide range of topics including the effect of idiosyncratic risk on asset prices and portfolio choice, dynamic models of corporate finance, financial institutions, monetary economics, and valuation of government guarantees.
Previous appointments include assistant and associate director at the Congressional Budget Office; Donald C. Clark Professor of Finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; chief economist at the Congressional Budget Office; senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers; and member of two Social Security Technical Advisory Panels. She also has served as a director on several corporate and non-profit boards.
Dr. Lucas is a coeditor of the Annual Review of Financial Economics, a co-editor of AEA-Policy, and a co-organizer of the group Capital Markets and the Economy at the NBER. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a research associate of the NBER, a member of the Advisory Roundtable of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a member of the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee, and a member of the Academic Research Council for the Urban Institute Housing Finance Policy Center.
Dr. Lucas received her BA, MA, and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.
Doug Criscitello is the Executive Director of MIT’s Golub Center for Finance and Policy. He is working to advance the new center to study and enable informed action on issues such as global systemic risk, financial services industry regulation and government involvement in the capital marketplace.
Previous appointments include serving as Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), nominated by President Obama, where he directed the execution of HUD’s financial management program including analytical work involving the department’s credit and insurance programs. He also served as the inaugural Director of the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO), a municipal agency designed to provide nonpartisan, objective research and analysis of NYC’s budget. Earlier in his career, Doug worked at the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office where he focused on issues impacting public sector financial institutions. In the private sector, he has worked at JPMorgan Securities Inc., where he provided operational, investment banking, and financial advisory services to government agencies, and as a consultant at Grant Thornton LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Doug is a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and a Strategic Advisor to Government Executives (SAGE) at the Partnership for Public Service. He received his BA and MS in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester.
Andrew Lo is the Center’s Head of Risk Initiatives, the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Director of MIT’s Laboratory for Financial Engineering, and a principal investigator of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research is focused on the fundamental aspects of investments and financial markets, including measuring illiquidity risk in hedge-fund returns, the growth of systemic risk in the hedge-fund industry, evolutionary and neurobiological models of individual risk preferences and financial-market dynamics, and most recently, new approaches to financing biomedical innovation. He has published numerous articles, and is a co-author of The Econometrics of Financial Markets, A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street, and The Evolution of Technical Analysis, and author of Hedge Funds: An Analytic Perspective. He is currently a co-editor of the Annual Review of Financial Economics and an associate editor of the Financial Analysts Journal, the Journal of Portfolio Management, and the Journal of Computational Finance. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of FINRA’s Economic Advisory Board, the OFR Financial Research Advisory Committee, the CME Group Competitive Markets Advisory Council, the Consortium for Systemic Risk Analytics Academic Advisory Board, and founder and chief investment strategist of AlphaSimplex Group, LLC, an investment advisory firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Robert C. Merton is the School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. He was the George Fisher Baker Professor of Business Administration (1988–98) and the John and Natty McArthur University Professor (1998–2010) at Harvard Business School. After receiving a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1970, Merton served on the finance faculty of MIT’s Sloan School of Management until 1988 at which time he was J.C. Penney Professor of Management. He is currently Resident Scientist at Dimensional Holdings, Inc., where he developed a next-generation integrated pension-management solution system that addresses deficiencies associated with traditional defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans.
Merton received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1997 for a new method to determine the value of derivatives. He is past president of the American Finance Association, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Merton has also been recognized for translating finance science into practice. He received the inaugural Financial Engineer of the Year Award from the International Association for Quantitative Finance (formerly International Association of Financial Engineers), which also elected him a Senior Fellow. He received the 2011 CME Group Melamed-Arditti Innovation Award, and the 2013 WFE Award for Excellence from World Federation of Exchanges. A Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance (‘Q Group’) and a Fellow of the Financial Management Association, Merton received the Nicholas Molodovsky Award from the CFA Institute. He is a member of the Halls of Fame of the Fixed Income Analyst Society, Risk, and Derivative Strategy magazines. Merton received Risk’s Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the field of risk management.
Merton’s research focuses on finance theory, including lifecycle and retirement finance, optimal portfolio selection, capital asset pricing, pricing of derivative securities, credit risk, loan guarantees, financial innovation, the dynamics of institutional change, and improving the methods of measuring and managing macro-financial risk.
Merton received a B.S. in Engineering Mathematics from Columbia University, a M.S. in Applied Mathematics from California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and honorary degrees from eleven universities.
Jonathan A. Parker is the Robert C. Merton (1970) Professor of Finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a co-director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy and its Head of Consumer Financial Policy Initiatives. An expert in finance, macroeconomics, and household behavior, he has published widely on topics such as macroeconomic risks and asset returns, fiscal stabilization policy, national saving, household financial decisions, the measurement of business cycles, and modeling human economic behavior.
Parker has held numerous government service and consulting positions during his career, including Special Adviser on Financial Stability for the Office of Financial Stability in the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2009. He is currently an Economic Adviser for the Congressional Budget Office, a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Board of Editors of the American Economic Review, and a co-editor of the NBER Macroeconomics Annual.
Parker holds a B.A. in economics and mathematics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT.
Kyle Shohfi is a research associate at the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy.
Shohfi’s research follows the intersection of money and government in a variety of settings, ranging from work on the psychology of campaign contributions to the structure of federal credit programs. His master’s thesis evaluates whether real-life economic conditions influence attitudes about affirmative action policy. Methodologically, Shohfi specializes in survey research and quantitative analysis.
Shohfi holds a bachelor of arts degree from Duke University and master of science degree from MIT, both in political science.
Daron Acemoglu is the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics at the Department of Economics at MIT and a member of the Economic Growth program of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. He is also affiliated with the National Bureau Economic Research, the Center for Economic Performance, the Center for Economic Policy Research, and Microsoft Research Center. Acemoglu’s research covers a wide range of areas within economics, including political economy, economic development and growth, human capital theory, growth theory, innovation, search theory, network economics and learning.
In 2005, he received the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, for being a top economist under 40. Acemoglu is the co-author, with Harvard’s James Robinson, of the New York Times bestseller Why Nations Fail, which is a major work of historical, political and cultural heft that comes along once every few years.
Born in Turkey and educated in England, Acemoglu has written for mainstream magazines such as Esquire and co-edits academic publications, such as The Journal of Economic Growth. Acemoglu’s expertise stretches across the full spectrum of macroeconomics, with a focus on the role of institutions in economic development: how will institutions react to the demographic shifts to the 21st century? How will the rise of new superpowers change the global economy?
Abhijit Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics at MIT.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and remains one of the directors of the lab. In 2009 J-PAL won the BBVA Foundation “Frontier of Knowledge” award in the development cooperation category. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. In 2011, he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 global thinkers. His areas of research are development economics and economic theory. He is the author of a large number of articles and three books, including Poor Economics (www.pooreconomics.com) which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. He is the editor of a fourth book, and finished his first documentary film, “The Name of the Disease” in 2006. Most recently, Banerjee served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Ricardo J. Caballero is the Ford International Professor of Economics and Director of the World Economic Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an NBER Research Associate, and an advisor of QFR Capital Management LP. Caballero was the Chairman of MIT’s Economics Department (2008-2011) and has been a visiting scholar and consultant at most major central banks and international financial institutions. His teaching and research fields are macroeconomics, international economics, and finance. His current research looks at global capital markets, speculative episodes and financial bubbles, systemic crises prevention mechanisms, and dynamic restructuring. His policy work focuses on aggregate risk management and insurance arrangements for emerging markets and developed economies. He has also written about aggregate consumption and investment, exchange rates, externalities, growth, price rigidity, dynamic aggregation, networks and complexity.
Caballero has served on the editorial board of several academic journals and has a very extensive list of publications in all major academic journals. Among his major awards, he was the winner of the 2002 Frisch Medal of the Econometric Society for “Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach”, Econometrica, 67(4), July 1999 (joint work with Eduardo Engel); and both the Smith Breeden Prize by the American Finance Association and the Emerald Management Review Citation of Excellence Award for “Collective Risk Management in a Flight to Quality Episode”, Journal of Finance, 63(5), October 2008 (joint work with Arvind Krishnamurthy). In April 1998 Caballero was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society and subsequently of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2010.
Kristin Forbes is the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Professor of Management and Global Economics at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In 2014 she also became an External Member of the Monetary Policy Committee for the Bank of England. This dual role continues her tradition of using her academic background to inform her role in senior policy positions. From 2003 to 2005 Forbes served as a Member of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers (where she was the youngest person to ever hold this position). From 2001-2002 she worked in the U.S. Treasury Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Quantitative Policy Analysis, Latin American and Caribbean Nations. She also was a Member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers for the State of Massachusetts from 2009-2014.
She was recently honored as one of the top 25 economists under the age of 45 who are “shaping how we think about the global economy” (by Finance & Development, 2014). She was also named as a “Young Global Leader” as part of the World Economic Forum at Davos. She is a research associate at the NBER, a member of the Bellagio Group and Council on Foreign Relations, and on the Academic Advisory Board for the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Forbes’ academic research addresses policy-related questions in international macroeconomics. Recent projects include work on capital flows, financial crises, contagion, capital controls, macroprudential regulation, foreign investment, and tax holidays. Forbes has chaired research projects on the Global Financial Crisis, Global Linkages and International Financial Contagion. She has won numerous teaching awards and teaches one of the most popular classes at MIT’s Sloan School. Before joining MIT, Forbes worked at the World Bank and Morgan Stanley. She received her PhD in Economics from MIT and graduated summa cum laude with highest honors from Williams College.
Expertise: International Finance, International Economics, Macroeconomics, Contagion, Financial Crises, Capital Flows, Capital Controls, Macroprudential Regulation.
Bengt Robert Holmström is the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was head of the Economics Department from 2003-2006. He holds a joint appointment with MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society and the American Finance Association, and an elected foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (corporate finance). In 2011 he served as President of the Econometric Society.
He received his doctoral degree from Stanford University in 1978. Before joining MIT in 1994, he was the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Management at Yale University’s School of Management (1983-94) and associate professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (1979-82).
Holmström is a microeconomic theorist, best known for his research on the theory of contracting and incentives especially as applied to the theory of the firm, to corporate governance and to liquidity problems in financial crises.
He holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Vaasa, Finland, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, and the Hanken School of Economics, Finland. He was awarded the Banque de France-TSE Senior Prize in Monetary Economics and Finance in 2012, the Stephen A. Ross Prize in Financial Economics and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – MSRI Prize for Innovative Quantitative Applications in 2013, the Distinguished CES Fellow award from CESifo, Munich, and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2016.
He is a board member of the Aalto University in Finland (2010-), the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) (2005-) and a former board member of the Nokia Corporation (1999-2012).
Yasheng Huang is the International Program Professor in Chinese Economy and Business and a Professor of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Huang founded and runs the China Lab and the India Lab, which aim to help entrepreneurs in those countries improve their management skills. He is an expert source on international business, political economy, and international management. In collaboration with other scholars, Huang is conducting research on human capital formation in China and India, entrepreneurship, and ethnic and labor-intensive foreign direct investment (FDI). Prior to MIT Sloan, he held faculty positions at the University of Michigan and at Harvard Business School. Huang also served as a consultant to the World Bank.
His research has been profiled in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Businessworld, Le Monde, the Economic Times, as well as in numerous Chinese publications. He also has contributed to the Financial Times, The New York Times, and Foreign Policy. Huang’s published books include Inflation and Investment Controls in China (1996), FDI in China (1998), Selling China (2003), and Financial Reform in China (2005, co-edited with Tony Saich and Edward Steinfeld). His most recent book, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (2008), is based on detailed archival and quantitative evidence spanning three decades of reforms. Huang shows that private entrepreneurship, facilitated by financial liberalization and microeconomic flexibility, played a central role in China’s economic miracle.
Huang has held or received prestigious fellowships, such as the National Fellowship at Stanford University and the Social Science Research Council-MacArthur Fellowship. He is a member of the Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, a Fellow at the Center for Chinese Economic Research and the Center for China in the World Economy at Tsinghua University, a Fellow at the William Davidson Institute at Michigan Business School, and a World Economic Forum Fellow.
Huang holds a BA in government from Harvard College and a PhD in government from Harvard University.
Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., a co-founder of BaselineScenario.com, a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers, and a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the private sector systemic risk council founded by Sheila Bair in 2012. In July 2014, he joined the Financial Research Advisory Committee of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research (OFR).
“For his articulate and outspoken support for public policies to end too-big-to-fail”, Johnson was named a Main Street Hero by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in 2013. Over the past five years, Prof. Johnson has published more than 300 high impact pieces in the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Republic, BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, The Financial Times, and Project Syndicate.
“The Quiet Coup” received over a million views when it appeared in The Atlantic in early 2009. His book 13 Bankers: the Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (with James Kwak), was an immediate bestseller and has become one of the mostly highly regarded books on the financial crisis. Their follow-up book on U.S. fiscal policy, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters for You, won praise across the political spectrum.
From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, Prof. Johnson was the International Monetary Fund’s Economic Counsellor (chief economist) and Director of its Research Department. He also helped to found and run the NBER Africa Project.
Johnson holds a BA in economics and politics from the University of Oxford, an MA in economics from the University of Manchester, and a PhD in economics from MIT.
James Poterba is the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT and a faculty affiliate of the Finance Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the President of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit research organization with over 1300 affiliated economists. He has served as President of the Eastern Economic Association and the National Tax Association, as vice president of the American Economic Association, and as a director of the American Finance Association. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.
Dr. Poterba’s research focuses on how taxation affects the economic decisions of households and firms, particularly those involving saving and portfolio behavior. His recent research has analyzed the determinants of retirement saving, the draw-down of assets after households reach retirement, and the role of tax-deferred retirement saving programs such as 401(k) plans in contributing to retirement security.
Dr. Poterba is a trustee of the College Retirement Equity Fund (CREF), the TIAA-CREF mutual funds, and of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He is a former editor of the Journal of Public Economics, the leading international journal for research on taxation and government spending, a co-author of The Role of Annuity Markets in Financing Retirement (2001), and an editor or co-editor of Global Warming: Economic Policy Responses (1991), International Comparisons of Household Saving (1994), Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation (1996), Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance (1999), and Fiscal Reform in Colombia (2005). Dr. Poterba served as a member of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform in 2005.
Dr. Poterba holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a D. Phil. in Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a Batterymarch Fellow, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Roberto Rigobon is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Applied Economics at the Sloan School of Management, MIT, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and a visiting professor at IESA.
Roberto is a Venezuelan economist whose areas of research are international economics, monetary economics, and development economics. Roberto focuses on the causes of balance-of-payments crises, financial crises, and the propagation of them across countries – the phenomenon that has been identified in the literature as contagion. Currently he studies properties of international pricing practices, try to produce alternative measures of inflation, and is one of the two founding members of the Billion Prices Project, and a co-founder of PriceStats.
Roberto joined the business school in 1997 and has won three times the “Teacher of the year” award and three times the “Excellence in Teaching” award at MIT. He got his Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1997, an MBA from IESA (Venezuela) in 1991, and his BS in Electrical Engineer from Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela) in 1984. He is married with three kids.
Antoinette Schoar is the Michael M. Koerner (1949) Professor of Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
An expert in corporate finance, entrepreneurship, and organizational economics, Schoar researches venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate diversification, governance, and capital budgeting decisions in firms. She has received the Fellowship of the George Stigler Center, 1997–1999, and the ERP Doctoral Scholarship of the German Ministry of Trade, 1995–1997.
Schoar holds a diploma in economics from the University of Cologne, Germany, and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.
Alp Simsek is Rudi Dornbusch Career Development Assistant Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his B.S. degrees in mathematics and computer science, and his master’s degree in engineering, before switching to economics. He received his economics Ph.D. degree in 2010 also from MIT, while winning the MIT Robert Solow award for excellence in research and teaching in economics. He worked as an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University between 2010 and 2013, before returning to his alma mater as faculty in 2013. He conducts mostly theoretical research in finance and macroeconomics. His research spans a wide range of topics, from investigating the role of belief disagreements in financial markets, to analyzing the causes and policy implications of financial crises and macroeconomic slumps. His recent work has been published in leading scholarly journals, including Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Finance.
David Andrew Singer is Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT, Associate Editor of International Studies Quarterly, and Associate Housemaster of MacGregor House. Professor Singer studies international political economy, with a focus on international financial regulation, the influence of global capital flows on government policymaking, international institutions and governance, and the political economy of central banking. He is the author of Regulating Capital: Setting Standards for the International Financial System (Cornell University Press, 2007) as well as articles in American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, International Organization, Journal of Politics International Studies Quarterly, and other journals. Professor Singer is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2004. Before joining the MIT faculty, he was Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame (2004-2006), and also worked in corporate finance and technology venture development. He was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008-9.
Kathleen Thelen is Ford Professor of Political Science at MIT. Her work focuses on the origins and evolution of political-economic institutions in the rich democracies, with an emphasis on labor market institutions (education and training, industrial relations, labor market and social policy). Her latest book is entitled Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity (Cambridge University Press 2014). Previous publications include five other books, among them most recently Explaining Institutional Change (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Beyond Continuity (Oxford University Press, 2005), and How Institutions Evolve (Cambridge University Press 2004). She has received several awards for her work, including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award of the APSR (2005), the Mattei Dogan Award of the Society for Comparative Research (2006), the Max Planck Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences (2003), and the Stanley Hoffmann Award for the best article on French politics (2011). Thelen has held research fellowships at Oxford University, Gothenburg University, Sciences Po, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Society, the Radcliffe Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Copenhagen Business School, and the Science Center in Berlin, among others. In 2009 she was elected to the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and in 2013 she was awarded an honorary degree (doctor honoris causa) at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.
Thelen is currently serving on the APSA Executive Council as the Association’s Treasurer. She served as President of the Association’s Comparative Politics Section (2011-13), as Chair of the Council for European Studies (2002-2006), as President of the APSA Section on Politics and History (2007-2008), and as President of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (2008-2009). She is Assistant General Editor for the Cambridge University Press Series in Comparative Politics, and a permanent external member of the Max Planck Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung in Cologne, Germany. She co-chairs the “Seminar on the State and Capitalism Since 1800” with Peter A. Hall at the Center for European Studies at Harvard.
Robert M. Townsend is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at MIT.
Townsend is an American economist whose recent work focuses on analyzing the role and contributions of financial systems on developing economies by studying applied dynamic general equilibrium models and contract theory. His contributions in economic theory include the role of financial intermediaries in general equilibrium Arrow-Debreu models, the revelation principle, the costly state verification approach, optimal multi-period contracts, decentralization of economies with private information, money with spatially separated agents, financial institutions and economic growth, and forecasting the forecasts of others. His contributions in econometrics include the study of risk and insurance in developing countries, and his work on village India was awarded the Frisch Medal in 1998.
Since 1997, Townsend has undertaken large scale village surveys in Thailand to analyze the interaction between household decisions and community behavior at different levels of aggregation including families, villages, regions, and country-wide. The Townsend Thai study was the first of its kind and has been the stepping stone for many other applied and theoretical projects in economic development and contract theory. Townsend’s work has demonstrated innovation in the combination of theory and data, as well as the ability to work across various sub-fields.
Much of Townsend’s work is central to the topic of government and the regulation of financial markets.
Townsend is currently a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, as well as an Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the recipient of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in 2011, and a second Frisch Medal in 2012 for the structural evaluation of a large-scale microfinance program in Thailand.
Joseph Weber is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management and a Professor of Accounting at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Weber specializes in empirical work on the importance of accounting information in financial contracts. His recent work documents how an innovation in the commercial debt market—performance pricing—allows for more efficient contracting by reducing the expected renegotiation costs of the contract. Weber’s research has recently appeared in The Accounting Review, the Journal of Accounting Research, and the Journal of Accounting and Economics. When not conducting research, Weber teaches the core financial accounting class to first-year MBA students at MIT Sloan. Prior to entering academia, he worked for Price Waterhouse and AXA Financial.
Weber holds a BSB in accounting from Bucknell University and a PhD in accounting from Pennsylvania State University.