News and Announcements

Shocks and economic disruption: Networks, insurance, and propagation
April 20, 2020

How might the economic consequences of the global pandemic spread through an economy?

This column reports evidence from a household survey of village communities in Thailand, which sheds light on how a large shock experienced by one household may be mitigated by informal insurance networks. If not insured, however, it will propagate to others through local supply chains, leading to longer-term low-productivity structural shifts.

The research findings indicate the importance of a robust public response and improved market infrastructure for shocks like Covid-19.

Read more in Global Dev.

Townsend Delivers AFA Distinguished Keynote Lecture
February 1, 2020

Professor Robert M. Townsend presented the American Finance Association’s Distinguished Lecture on January 4, 2020 at their annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Townsend, who was introduced by Program Chair Kenneth Singleton (University of Chicago), spoke on “Distributed Ledgers: Design and Regulation of Financial Infrastructure and Payment Systems.”

Townsend thanked the AFA for the lecture opportunity, citing it as a great chance to share “what I’ve been thinking about rather intensively over the last couple of years.” Townsend’s lecture focused on the role emerging distributed ledger technology plays in the global financial system and seeks to align the economic and financial underpinnings with the computer science ones driving the cryptocurrency fields. “I could have put ‘Bitcoin’ on the title or maybe ‘blockchain,’” observed Townsend, but he felt that doing so could be intellectually misleading. “Distributed ledgers are at the root, they came first.”

The video of the lecture can be watched here.