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Municipal Finance Conference

MFC 2018 logos_NEW-01

The 2019 conference will take place July 15-16, 2019. More details coming soon. 

The Municipal Finance Conference aims to bring together academics, practitioners, issuers, and regulators to discuss recent research on municipal capital markets and state and local fiscal issues.

Call for Papers| AgendaRegistrationAccommodationsAbout the OrganizersAdvisory Committee | 2019 WebinarPast ConferencesQuestions


We are seeking papers for our 8th annual Municipal Finance Conference, to be held July 15-16, 2019, at the Brookings Institution. The Municipal Finance Conference aims to bring together academics, practitioners, and state and local government officials to discuss recent research on municipal finance and economic and fiscal issues affecting state and local governments more broadly. In recent years, paper topics have included changing rules for advance refunding, the impact of local newspaper closures on municipal borrowing costs, an analysis of the Kansas tax reform, pricing and ownership trends in U.S. green bonds, issues in financing public pensions, and changes in the municipal advisor market in the post Dodd-Frank era.

Understanding municipal markets means understanding what influences regional, state and local economic and fiscal conditions, so we are interested in a broad assortment of papers.

  • Deadline for proposals is Friday, March 1, 2019.
  • We are seeking proposals for a broad variety of topics on any aspect of state and local fiscal policy and finance.
  • Papers do not have to be original to this conference. We welcome papers that have been presented elsewhere.
  • Please send your proposal or abstract to Haowen Chen (

Selection decisions will be made by early April, and drafts of selected papers will be due by Friday, June 7.


The agenda for the 2019 conference is forthcoming. A detailed 2018 agenda and conference materials are available here.


Registration for the 2019 conference will open in April.


Nearby hotels include:


Michael Belsky is the Executive Director of the Center for Municipal Finance at Harris and teaches a course on the fundamentals of municipal bonds as part of the Municipal Finance Certificate Program. He is also the Managing Director for Fixed Income at Greenwich Investment Management a firm specializing in High Yield Municipal Bonds. Prior to joining the firm he worked in the municipal finance industry for over 30 years. Mr. Belsky also served two terms as a member of the City Council in Highland Park, Illinois (1995–2003), and two terms as mayor (2003–11). Mr. Belsky is a recognized expert in municipal finance and has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars, including at Bloomberg and the Greenwich Round Table. He was recently asked by the SEC to testify as an expert in hearings on secondary market disclosure in the municipal bond market. He has lectured on public finance at Northwestern University, the LBJ School at the University of Texas, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, the Graduate Program in City Management at Northern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois. Mr. Belsky received a BA in urban studies from Lake Forest College and an MA in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Daniel Bergstresser is Associate Professor of Finance at the Brandeis International Business School. Bergstresser’s research focuses on municipal finance and on the impact of taxation, regulation, and market structure on financial markets. This research has been published in the Journal of Law and Economics, the Journal of Financial Economics, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Public Economics, and has been widely cited in both the academic and business press. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics at MIT, and earned an A.B. at Stanford. In 2006 and 2007, he worked for the investment manager Barclays Global Investors, serving in London as Head of European Credit Research. Prior to graduate school, he worked for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington D.C.

Richard Ryffel is a senior lecturer at Washington University’s Olin Business School. During his 30-year career in investment banking and asset management, Ryffel advised colleges and universities, hospitals, cities, states, airports, school districts, and corporations on financings and capital structure, and led hundreds of financings in both the taxable and tax-exempt markets. Mr. Ryffel joined Washington University full-time in 2015 after having worked at IBM Corporation, A.G. Edwards (now Wells Fargo Advisors), Bank of America, Edward Jones, and J.P. Morgan.  He consults and writes in the areas of municipal finance and endowment management and governance.

Louise Sheiner is a senior fellow in Economic Studies and policy director for the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy. She had served as an economist with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since 1993, most recently as the senior economist in the Fiscal Analysis Section for the Research and Statistics Division. (At the 2013 municipal finance conference, Sheiner and Byron Lutz at the Fed presented their work on state and local retiree health obligations.) She also has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (1996), and served as Senior Staff Economist for the Council of Economic Advisers (1995-96). Before joining the Fed, Sheiner was an economist at the Joint Committee on Taxation.

David Wessel is director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, which provides independent, non-partisan analysis of fiscal and monetary policy issues in order to further public understanding and to improve the quality and effectiveness of those policies.  He joined Brookings in December 2013 after 30 years on the staff of The Wall Street Journal where, most recently, he was economics editor and wrote the weekly Capital column.  He is a contributing correspondent to The Wall Street Journal, appears frequently on NPR’s Morning Edition and tweets often at @davidmwessel.

advisory committee

David Abel, Columbia Capital Management
Chris Berry, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
Tim Coffin, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
Joe Fichera, Saber Partners
Mark Funkhouser, Governing
Allen Garman, Maryland Transportation Authority
Tracy Gordon, Urban Institute
Nikki Griffith, Howard County, MD Department of Finance
Craig Johnson, Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Andy Kalotay, Andrew Kalotay Associates
Brian Knight, Brown University
Byron Lutz, Federal Reserve Board
Colin MacNaught, BondLink
Carol O’Cleireacain, (formerly) Office of the Mayor of Detroit, MI
Peter Orr, Intuitive Analytics
Paul Payne, City of St. Louis, MO
Kim Rueben, Urban Institute
Ivan Samstein, University of Chicago
Daniel Shoag, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Win Smith, Win Analytics LLC
Sarah Snyder, Ramirez & Co., Inc.
Bryan Sullivan, State of Delaware
J. Ben Watkins, State of Florida
Bradley Wendt, U.S. Department of Treasury
Nancy Winkler, (formerly) City of Philadelphia
Stephen Winterstein, MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
Stephen Wood, Stephen A. Wood Consulting

2019 Webinar

Tuesday, February 5, 1:00-2:30 pm EST

The Flint water crisis, involving lead contamination of the city’s drinking water and an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, has been on the national radar for years—but there are still unanswered questions. What happened, and how? What are the health, political, and economic implications for the city and its people? How widespread is the lead problem in America’s water supplies? How are water utilities and governments responding? What are the possible solutions to address this public health problem?

This webinar featured presentations by Anna Clark (Author, Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy) on Flint and by Douglas Farquhar (Program Director, Environmental Health, National Conference of State Legislatures) on what’s happening in other communities. The presentations were followed by a discussion with webinar participants.

The audio recording of this webinar can be found here »


2018 conference

2017 conference

2016 conference

2015 conference

2014 conference

2013 conference

2012 conference

See also: February 2018 Webinar – “Assessing and managing the risks posed by climate change to state and local governments”


Please direct any questions regarding conference registration, logistics, etc. to Anna Dawson ( or Haowen Chen (

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