CFSP Launches Innovative Workshop, Brings IO and Development Together

February 29, 2012

CFSP introduces a groundbreaking scholarly workshop this spring: "Financial Systems, Industrial Organization, and Economic Development."

The series, led by CFSP Faculty Director Robert M. Townsend of MIT and Daniel Keniston of Yale University, takes development economics in a new direction by partnering leading economists with leading researchers in the field of industrial organization (IO). By combining the two fields, scholars will exchange ideas in order to shape the direction of research in low-income and developing countries.

Specifically, a panel discussion will look at issues related to one of the fastest growing new markets, mobile banking systems. These two-sided markets in a still young sector are ripe for examination in many areas, including platforms, pricing, and network externalities. The panel will ask questions about what is the optimal market strucutre for the mobile banking industry and what this implies for fostering market efficiency. 

"While development economists have largely focused on financial services, such as savings and credit, few have thought about financial service providers as firms with consequent industrial organization issues," notes Keniston.

"As efforts to increase financial access for the poor spread around the world, understanding how financial service providers grow, expand, operate, compete, and how they are regulated is imperative. We are excited by this CFSP workshop opportunity and look forward to helping shape the future of this essential field of research."

The workshop will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April this year.  Participation is by invitation only.