Macro Financial Research Initiative (MFRI)

 The 2007-09 financial crisis revealed serious gaps in our understanding of how activity in financial markets affected the economy as a whole. This initiative, housed within the Becker Friedman Institute at The University of Chicago, works to probe how financial market activity affects the broader economy, study and clarify the linkages between financial markets—including credit markets that drive the mortgage and housing industry—and the macroeconomy.

Through sponsored research projects, conferences, and interactions with visiting scholars, this initiative focuses on three fundamental questions:

1. How do we construct models and measurements that will better support the prudent oversight of system-wide risks to the financial system?

2. How does the credit cycle influence the business cycle and how does the business cycle affect the credit cycle?

3. How can we improve financial market regulation?

4. How do we extract the lessons to be learned from fiscal histories in the United States and Latin America?

5. How can we strengthen the assessment evaluation of future fiscal obligations for governments?

6. How do we best capture the interplay between monetary and fiscal policy? 

MFRI Advisory Committee

The Macro Finance Research Initiative (MFRI) Advisory Committee oversees the research agenda of the initiative. Members of the committee are prominent experts in macroeconomics and finance with particular interests in exploring linkages between these fields. They have made important substantive research contributions and are well positioned to help the research agenda for the Initiative.

  • Lars Peter Hansen, Professor, University of Chicago Departments of Economics, Statistics and the Booth School of Business, Committee Chair
  • Fernando Alvarez, Professor, University of Chicago Department of Economics
  • John Cochrane, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, and BFI Distinguished Research Fellow
  • Zhiguo He, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Anil Kashyap, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Thomas Sargent, Professor, New York University Department of Economics and BFI Distinguished Research Fellow
  • Amir Sufi, Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Harald Uhlig, Professor, University of Chicago Department of Economics

Forthcoming Conferences (hosted by Becker Friedman Institute):

Previous Conferences (hosted by Becker Friedman Institute):

Launched in 2012 as part of the Macro Financial Research Initiative (MFRI), this collaborative venture works to develop and assess enhanced macroeconomic models that better account for important financial sector influences on the economy. The aim is to close gaps in our ability to define, measure, and manage financial sector activities that pose risks to the macroeconomy as a whole.

The project brings together a network of prominent scholars and innovative early career researchers actively working in this field. Since 2012, the project group has met regularly to discuss and critique current and proposed models. With input and regular involvement of policymakers, the group is working to develop the next generation of policy tools.

One major focus of the effort is to cultivate emerging scholars in this area, through dissertation support and opportunities for students to present and refine their work. New this year is a 2016 summer session that will offer doctoral students and other young scholars and professionals working on related topics. Participants will gain insights from central bank research departments distinguished researchers, and peers at the frontiers of research in this area.
Browse this site to discover recent papers and research tools relevant to this work.

MFM dissertation fellowships are provided with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan FoundationCME Group Foundation, and Fidelity Management & Research Company.

Project Directors

Upcoming MFM Meetings

Jan 25–26, 2018 Macro Financial Modeling Winter 2018 Meeting NYMEX, 300 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10282, USA

Previous MFM Meetings

2017 Macro Financial Modeling Summer Session for Young Scholars – June 18-22, 2017, Bretton Woods, NH

Macro Financial Modeling Winter 2017 – March 9-10, 2017, New York, NY

Latin American economies have endured a wide variety of experiences in terms of the design, the implementation and the consequences of monetary and fiscal policies. While many country-specific narratives exist, this research project is assembling comprehensive historical time series for nine countries to provide more complete and comprehensive accounts for each country and to facilitate cross-country comparisons. This project, as part of the MFRI, has engaged scholars and experienced policy makers to provide accurate assessments for each country’s fiscal history. The lessons gleaned from analyzing these historical data will offer valuable guidance for policy makers, international financial institutions, and the academic community.
The instruments of finance are evolving quickly in China. China’s interbank market has experienced rapid growth and has turned the nation into the third largest economy in the world behind the United States and Japan. Participants in this market include commercial banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and other qualified institutions. This project formally named “Chinese Financial Markets (CFM)” as part of  the MFRI, will provide a comprehensive study of the interbank market in China including its overall stability, its consequences for investment and its support for new productive ventures.