Robert M. Townsend is a theorist, macroeconomist, and development economist who analyzes the role and impact of economic organization and financial systems through applied general equilibrium models, contract theory and the use of micro data.  The Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, he is known for his seminal work on costly state verification, the revelation principle, optimal multi-period contracts, decentralization of economies with private information, models of money with spatially separated agents, forecasting the forecasts of others, and insurance and credit in developing countries. Townsend is also a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economics.