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Professor Cole also acts as a consultant for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. His research covers a broad range of macroeconomic topics using a combination of theory, quantitative and statistical methods. The major topics are: (1) the International Great Depression, (2) efficient contracting models of firm financial structure and compensation, and (3) incomplete asset markets and the impact of limited portfolio behavior. He has also worked on monetary economics, risk-sharing in aggregate economies, international finance (particularly sovereign default), the interaction of social norms and market activity, and the US and UK depressions of the 1930s and 1920s respectively.
In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society.