The Lecture has been instituted by the Bank of Italy to promote original contributions by eminent scholars on the issues of money and finance.
The Lecture is named after Paolo Baffi, Governor of the Bank of Italy from 1975 to 1979, to commemorate his outstanding achievements in research and central banking during the more than fifty years he dedicated to the service of the Bank and the Nation and as a tribute to his unselfish commitment to the public interest.
The scope of the Lecture reflects the attention Paolo Baffi devoted to money and finance in his scholarly writings and his belief in the need to advance theoretical and applied analysis in this field.
The speakers of the Lecture are selected by a revolving Committee of distinguished economists and civil servants; the Committee members are Giancarlo Corsetti, Anil Kashyap, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Loriana Pelizzon, Hélène Rey, Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, Sergio Nicoletti Altimari.
The inaugural Lecture was delivered by Amartya K. Sen in April 1991. The second Lecture was given by Jacques H. Drèze in November 1992, the third by Michael Bruno in November 1994, the fourth by Robert C. Merton in November 1996, the fifth by Olivier J. Blanchard in October 1998, the sixth by Jean Tirole in November 2000, the seventh by Martin Hellwig in November 2003, the eighth by Andrei Shleifer in November 2007, the ninth by Ricardo J. Caballero in December 2009, the tenth by Jeremy Stein in November 2011, the eleventh by Raghuram G. Rajan in November 2013, the twelfth by Markus K. Brunnermeier in December 2015, the thirteenth by Darrell Duffie in September 2017, the fourteenth by Hélène Rey in November 2019, the fifteenth by Nobuhiro Kiyotaki in November 2021.
On 22 November 2023 Annette Vissing-Jorgensen delivered the sixteenth Paolo Baffi Lecture on Money and Finance.