Robert Pindyck is the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd. Professor in Finance and Economics and a Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Pindyck’s most recent research focuses on economic policies related to rare disasters, such as those that would severely affect the entire U.S. or world economies. Examples include possible but low-probability catastrophic outcomes from global warming or nuclear terrorism. At issue is how such low-probability but extreme outcomes should affect current policy, for example, in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He also has continued to work on irreversible investment decisions, the role of network effects in market structure, and the behavior of commodity prices.
Pindyck is the co-author of Investment Under Uncertainty (Princeton University Press, 1994), which demonstrates that the traditional “net present value” rule for capital investment decisions can lead to wrong answers since it ignores the irreversibility of most investment decisions and the option of delaying an investment. Recently, Pindyck has extended these ideas to the timing and design of environmental policy, as well as to research and development decisions and patent valuation. His work on network effects focuses on market structure in the pharmaceutical and computer industries, while his research on commodity markets examines the random structure of long-term and short-term price evolution and the implications for hedging and investment.
Pindyck holds an SB in electrical engineering and physics, an SM in electrical engineering, and a PhD from MIT.