Robert S. Pindyck

Faculty

Robert S. Pindyck

About

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.

Honors

Pindyck wins Jamieson Award

Publications

"Tropical Forests, Tipping Points, and the Social Cost of Deforestation."

Franklin, Sergio L., Jr., and Robert S. Pindyck. Ecological Economics Vol. 153, (2018): 161-171.

"The Social Cost of Carbon, Revisited."

Pindyck, Robert, Working Paper. 2017.

"Pricing With Limited Knowledge of Demand."

Cohen, Maxime C., Georgia Perakis, and Robert S. Pindyck. (Submitted to Manufacturing & Service Operations Management – invited for major revision, Fall 2017), MIT Sloan Working Paper 5145-15. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, September 2017.

"Taxes, Targets, and the Social Cost of Carbon."

Pindyck, Robert. Economica Vol. 84, No. 335 (2017): 345-364.

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Recent Insights

Ideas Made to Matter

On climate change, time to buy an insurance policy

Don’t waste time trying to predict the cost, professor says. Better to prepare for catastrophe.

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