CFSP Economist Townsend elected to National Academy of Sciences

Membership Recognizes Achievements in Research
May 2, 2012

(VIA EurekaAlert – Chicago, IL) Robert M. Townsend, Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Faculty Director of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Townsend was among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced yesterday as this year's recipients of the honor. According to NAS, they bestow membership in the academy in recognition of "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." NAS is a U.S. organization that was introduced in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln to promote science and technology and to foster its use in the service of the government.

Townsend is a development economist whose recent work focuses on analyzing the role and impact of financial systems on developing economies by studying applied general equilibrium models and contract theory. He is the author of Financial Structure and Economic Organization (1990), The Medieval Village Economy (1993), Households as Corporate Firms (2010) with Krislert Samphantharak, Financial Systems in Developing Economies (2011), and numerous professional articles in economics and development.

Townsend is the Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, where he has been on the faculty since 2008. Prior to that, he taught at the University of Chicago, where he remains a Research Associate.

The Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty is a research organization of leading and up-and-coming economists. They strive to alleviate global poverty through helping to identify, define, and develop more efficient financial systems. In addition to CFSP, Townsend also leads several other prominent research initiatives, including the Townsend Thai Project and the Enterprise Initiative.