Townsend shared this year’s award with Joseph Kaboski of the University of Notre Dame, who is also a former student of Townsend’s.
The announcement was made by the Consortium on Financial Systems & Poverty, a private organization at the University of Chicago that conducts research on changes to financial systems that can improve the lives of the world’s poor. Townsend and Kaboski are affiliated researchers with the consortium, which partly supported their work.
Townsend and Kaboski won the award for a paper they wrote titled “A Structural Evaluation of a Large-Scale, Quasi-Experimental Microfinance Initiative.”
The Frisch Medal is awarded every two years for the best empirical or theoretical applied paper published in the journal Econometrica.
Townsend and Kaboski’s paper was published in the journal’s September 2011 issue.
Townsend was previously awarded the prize in 1998 for his paper, “Risk and Insurance in Village India.”
Townsend has been on the faculty of MIT since 2008. Before that, he taught at the University of Chicago, where he remains a research associate.