Imperial College London


Business School

Associate Professor of Economics



+44 (0)20 7594 9412stephen.hansen Website CV




481City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

12 results found

Carvalho VM, Garcia JR, Hansen S, Ortiz Á, Rodrigo T, Rodríguez Mora JV, Ruiz Pet al., 2021, Tracking the COVID-19 crisis with high-resolution transaction data, Royal Society Open Science, Vol: 8, Pages: 1-18, ISSN: 2054-5703

Payments systems generate vast amounts of naturally occurring transaction data rarely used for constructing official statistics. We consider billions of transactions from card data from a large bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, as an alternative source of information for measuring consumption. We show, via validation against official consumption measures, that transaction data complements national accounts and consumption surveys. We then analyse the impact of COVID-19 in Spain, and document: (i) strong consumption responses to business closures, but smaller effects for capacity restrictions; (ii) a steeper decline in spending in rich neighbourhoods; (iii) higher mobility for residents of lower-income neighbourhoods, correlating with increased disease incidence.

Journal article

Bandiera O, Prat A, Hansen S, Sadun Ret al., 2020, CEO behavior and firm performance, Journal of Political Economy, Vol: 128, Pages: 1325-1369, ISSN: 0022-3808

We develop a new method to measure CEO behavior in large samples via a survey that collects high-frequency, high-dimensional diary data and a machine learning algorithm that estimates behavioral types. Applying this method to 1,114 CEOs in six countries reveals two types: “leaders,” who do multifunction, high-level meetings, and “managers,” who do individual meetings with core functions. Firms that hire leaders perform better, and it takes three years for a new CEO to make a difference. Structural estimates indicate that productivity differentials are due to mismatches rather than to leaders being better for all firms.

Journal article

Hansen S, McMahon M, Tong M, 2019, The long-run information effect of central bank communication, Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol: 108, Pages: 185-202, ISSN: 0304-3932

Journal article

Hansen S, Motta M, 2019, Vertical exclusion with downstream risk aversion or limited liability, The Journal of Industrial Economics, Vol: 67, Pages: 409-447, ISSN: 0022-1821

An upstream firm with full commitment bilaterally contracts with two exante identical downstream firms. Each observes its own cost shock, and facesuncertainty from its competitor’s shock. When they are risk neutral and canabsorb losses, the upstream firm contracts symmetric outputs for productionefficiency. However, when they are risk averse, competition requires thepayment of a risk premium due to revenue uncertainty. Moreover, whenthey enjoy limited liability, competition requires the upstream firm to shareadditional surplus. To resolve these trade-offs, the upstream firm offersexclusive contracts in many cases.

Journal article

Hansen S, McMahon M, Prat A, 2018, Transparency and deliberation within the FOMC: a computational linguistics approach*, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol: 133, Pages: 801-870, ISSN: 0033-5533

How does transparency, a key feature of central bank design, affect monetary policy makers’ deliberations? Theory predicts a positive discipline effect and negative conformity effect. We empirically explore these effects using a natural experiment in the Federal Open Market Committee in 1993 and computational linguistics algorithms. We first find large changes in communication patterns after transparency. We then propose a difference-in-differences approach inspired by the career concerns literature, and find evidence for both effects. Finally, we construct an influence measure that suggests the discipline effect dominates.

Journal article

Hansen S, Mcmahon M, 2016, First impressions matter: Signalling as a source of policy dynamics, The Review of Economic Studies, Vol: 83, Pages: 1645-1672, ISSN: 0034-6527

We provide the first direct empirical support for the importance of signalling in monetary policy by testing two key predictions from a novel structural model. First, all policymaker types should become less tough on inflation over time and secondly, types that weigh output more should have a more pronounced shift. Voting data from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee strongly support both predictions. Counterfactual results indicate signalling has a substantial impact on interest rates over the business cycle, and improves the committee designer's welfare. Implications for committee design include allowing regular member turnover and transparency regarding publishing individual votes.JEL D78 - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and ImplementationE52 - Monetary PolicyE58 - Central Banks and Their Policies

Journal article

Hansen S, McMahon M, Srisuma S, 2016, Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Expertise, JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECONOMETRICS, Vol: 31, Pages: 762-771, ISSN: 0883-7252

Journal article

Hansen S, McMahon M, 2016, Shocking language: Understanding the macroeconomic effects of central bank communication, NBER 38th International Seminar on Macroeconomics (ISoM), Publisher: Elsevier, Pages: S114-S133, ISSN: 0022-1996

We explore how the multi-dimensional aspects of information released by the FOMC has effects on both market and real economic variables. Using tools from computational linguistics, we measure the information released by the FOMC on the state of economic conditions, as well as the guidance the FOMC provides about future monetary policy decisions. Employing these measures within a FAVAR framework, we find that shocks to forward guidance are more important than the FOMC communication of current economic conditions in terms of their effects on market and real variables. Nonetheless, neither communication has particularly strong effects on real economic variables.

Conference paper

Arrunada B, Hansen S, 2015, Organizing public good provision: Lessons from Managerial Accounting, INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, Vol: 42, Pages: 185-191, ISSN: 0144-8188

Journal article

Hansen S, McMahon M, Rivera CV, 2014, Preferences or private assessments on a monetary policy committee?, JOURNAL OF MONETARY ECONOMICS, Vol: 67, Pages: 16-32, ISSN: 0304-3932

Journal article

Hansen SE, 2013, Performance Feedback with Career Concerns, JOURNAL OF LAW ECONOMICS & ORGANIZATION, Vol: 29, Pages: 1279-1316, ISSN: 8756-6222

Journal article

Bholat DM, Hansen S, Santos PM, Schonhardt-Bailey Cet al., Text Mining for Central Banks, SSRN Electronic Journal

Journal article

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