Media Coverage

  • "This Time There Was No Keynes"
    Economic Principals
    October 11, 2015

    Journalist David Warsh reviews former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's latest book and refers to Townsend's 1979 paper, "Optimal Contracts and Competitive Markets with Costly State Verification," in his discussion.

  • Becker Friedman Institute Conference Honors Townsend's Work
    Keynote Addresses by Thomas J. Sargent, Neil Wallace
    June 12, 2015

    Former students of Robert M. Townsend honored his influence and teaching with a conference in Chicago last month titled “Theory & Measurement: Financial Systems and Economic Development.” Reflecting both Townsend’s scholarly impact and collegial style, the informal conference was notable for the high quality of the scholarship presented, a keynote address by Thomas J. Sargent, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, and a commemorative lunch talk by Neil Wallace, Professor of Economics at Pennsylvania State University and Townsend’s own thesis advisor. 

  • May Conference to Honor Townsend's Impact on Development Economics
    Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago
    May 7, 2015

    To learn more about how people in developing countries thrive, Robert Townsend has built his career on empirical analysis framed by strong theoretical work. His approach made him a trailblazer among development economists. On May 21-22, students and colleagues shaped by his influence will gather in Chicago for a two-day conference honoring his legacy of scholarship.

  • Townsend Speaks at Fed Conference on Frontiers of Measuring Household Behavior
    Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
    April 27, 2015

    Townsend presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. His presentation, titled "Theory and Application of financially integrated measures of household behavior," introduced the methodology of surveying household behavior techniques. The talk was moderated by María Luengo-Prado.

  • Townsend, Kilenthong Discuss Market-Based Solution to Price Externalities
    VOX - CEPR Policy Portal
    November 9, 2014

    In the aftermath of the recent Global Crisis, models with pecuniary externalities have regained the interest of researchers as they seek policy interventions and regulations to remedy externality-induced distortions. There is a growing literature on fire sales and amplifiers where private agents undervalue net worth in a period of financial distress because they fail to internalise that net worth has positive spillovers on other agents.

  • How a Health Care Plan Quickly Lowered Infant Mortality in Thailand
    MIT News
    April 30, 2014

    A new paper, "The Great Equalizer: Health Care Access and Infant Mortality in Thailand", finds that improved hospital access lowered the infant death rate among Thailand's poor within a year. In this article, Peter Dizikes of MIT News Office, interviews Nathaniel Hendren and Robert M. Townsend, co-authors with Jonathan Gruber, to to find out more about this dramatic shift.

  • The Urban/Rural Divide is Less Divided Than You Think
    Financial Access Initiative Blog
    November 5, 2013

    This blog post by Alicia Brindisi discusses Robert M. Townsend's recent paper, "Accounting for the Poor", and explores ideas related to the lifecycle and consumption needs of the urban and rural poor.  While rural poverty is a persistent problem in Thailand and in other developing countries, Brindisi suggests that it should be addressed within the context of urbanization in order to acknowledge the interconnectedness of rural and urban populations.

  • Infrastructure Spending in Thailand: Fast Train Coming
    The Economist
    October 14, 2013

    This article explores planned large-scale infrastructure -- including high speed rail -- and stimulus spending in Thailand.  Opponents of the program have called for fiscal prudence and have questioned the amount of public debt it would require.  MIT Professor Robert M. Townsend points out, however, that average debt-to-asset ratios are low and have been decreasing since 2006, a fact which suggests that concerns about spending are overstated.

  • Trailer for "Emerging Thailand: The Spirit of Small Enterprise" Documentary Released
    October 3, 2013

    Drawing lessons on more than 15 years of fieldwork conducted by Robert M. Townsend, this documentary reveals the emerging spirit and dynamism of the Thai people and shares extraordinary observations about the nature of emerging markets, what makes entrepreneurs successful, how their communities support them, and the large role they play in national growth and the creation of wealth.

  • Book Review: Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project
    London School of Economics Review of Books
    August 15, 2013

    Joana Lenihan reviews "Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project." In her review, she notes, "(The) book gives us valuable insights on the running of such a project and is written in an honest fashion, which will appeal to readers from a wide variety of disciplines, and to both academic and non-academic readers alike."