- Seeking to bridge the public-private knowledge gap in finance
Along with supervising and regulating financial markets, governments function as the world’s largest and most interconnected financial institutions. They play a critical role in the allocation of capital and risk in society, yet little research has focused on government financial institutions or on providing solutions to the challenges they face. And while private-sector financial institutions have benefited from decades of transformational innovations in financial theory and practice, public-sector financial thinking and education often have not kept pace.
To help bridge this knowledge gap, MIT is launching the new Center for Finance and Policy (CFP). Under the aegis of MIT Sloan’s finance group, the cross-disciplinary center will be a catalyst for innovative research and policy analysis, and an incubator for new educational initiatives. The aim is to provide support for current and future policymakers and practitioners that will ultimately lead to improved decision-making, greater transparency, and better financial policies.
“The CFP will be an excellent strategic partner for key institutions in both the public and private sectors. MIT has the substantial intellectual leadership in finance, economics, political science and engineering that is needed to address important policy issues that cut across disciplines,” says MIT Sloan Dean David Schmittlein.
MIT Sloan Prof. Andrew Lo notes, “The CFP is an exciting initiative that takes the MIT Sloan finance tradition into the policy realm, not to advocate for one policy or another, but to offer unbiased, nonpartisan, rigorous analysis of major policy issues using the most relevant financial models and methods. By informing policymakers, regulators and other stakeholders of the financial consequences of each policy option, we believe that better decisions will be made and with fewer unintended consequences.”
MIT Sloan Prof. Robert Merton, a Nobel laureate, adds, “The need for rigorous financial analysis of public policy has never been greater, and MIT is ideally positioned to take on this important task.”
CFP Director and MIT Sloan Prof. Deborah Lucas notes that the center seeks to encourage more top researchers and their students to focus on these critical issues. She adds, “People working in the public sector have traditionally faced barriers to obtaining high-level financial education due to the cost and lack of a developed curriculum. We’re planning to use MIT edX to develop and offer material that will reach a broad audience free of charge, as well as executive education programs and short courses targeted at public sector practitioners and policymakers.”
An inaugural conference will be held Sept. 12-13 to launch the CFP and highlight its main research areas. The conference will feature six paper sessions, three panel discussions, and a keynote address. Over 100 participants are expected to attend, including policymakers, practitioners, and academics. The event will be available afterwards online. For more information on the conference, please visit this link. In addition to conferences, the CFP plans to disseminate knowledge through its website, policy briefs, a visiting scholars program, and other initiatives.
“I believe that the CFP’s research and educational initiatives will significantly move the needle on how policymakers think about their role as financial decision-makers and regulators, and ultimately have transformative effects on the quality and conduct of financial policies,” says Lucas.