News

  • 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.