Professor Thorston Beck gives the keynote address at the 2013 Long Finance Spring Conference looking at “the Bright and the Dark sides” of financial innovation. This involves setting out what exactly financial innovation is and looking at its effects; providing growth opportunities and in GDP per capita but also leading to fragility in banks and volatility in certain industries. Professor Beck goes on to look at the interaction between the financial sector and growth, and at two different views of what the financial sector should be: financial intermediation (a meta-sector supporting the rest of the economy) vs. financial sector (simply one sector of many).
Professor of economics and chair of the European Banking Center at Tilburg University. He is also a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Previously he worked in the research department of the World Bank and has also worked as consultant for – among others - the IMF, the European Commission, and the German Development Corporation. His research, academic publications and operational work have focused on two major questions: What is the relationship between finance and economic development? What policies are needed to build a sound and effective financial system? Recently, he has concentrated on access to financial services, including SME finance, as well as in incentive-compatible design of financial safety nets. In addition to numerous academic publications, he has co-authored several policy reports on access to finance, financial systems in Africa and cross-border banking. His country experience, both in operational and research work, includes Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia and several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia and an MA from the University of Tübingen in Germany.