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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Parag Pathak, 2003

Professor of Economics, MIT

Parag Pathak is the child of immigrants from Nepal

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Economics at Harvard University

Parag A. Pathak is a Professor of Economics at MIT, found­ing co-director of the NBER Working Group on Market Design, and founder of MIT's School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative (SEII), a laboratory focused on education, human capital, and the income distribution.  In 2005, based on work in his PhD thesis, Boston's school committee adopted a new mechanism for student placement, citing the desire to make it easier for participants to navigate and to level the playing field for the city's families.  He has also helped to design the Chicago, Denver, Newark, New Orleans, New York, and Washington DC school choice systems.  

His work on mar­ket design and edu­ca­tion was rec­og­nized with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.  In 2012, he was selected to give the Shapley Lecture at GAMES2012 as a dis­tin­guished game the­o­rist under age 40.   In 2013, he was appointed as Mayor Thomas Menino's chief technical advisor for Boston's student assignment plan.  Under his direction, SEII provided a formal analysis of different alternatives, which eventually led to the most significant change in Boston's school choice system since the end of court-ordered busing.  The IMF listed him as one of 25 top economists under age 45 in 2014.  He was awarded the 2016 Social Choice and Welfare as the top young scholar in social choice and welfare economics together with Fuhito Kojima.  In addi­tion to gen­er­at­ing aca­d­e­mic pub­li­ca­tions that study, develop, and test dif­fer­ent student assign­ment sys­tems, Pathak's research work has directly affected the lives of over one mil­lion pub­lic school students.  

Pathak also studies K-12 education and urban economics.  He has authored leading studies on charter schools, high school reform, selective education, and school choice.  In urban economics, he has measured the effects of foreclosures on house prices and how the housing market reacted to the end of rent control in Cambridge MA.

Pathak's research has been supported by research grants from the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy.  

Parag was born in Corning, New York, to a family that emigrated from Nepal.

  • PhD Economics | Harvard University 2007
  • AB Applied Mathematics and Economics | Harvard University 2002
  • MA Applied Mathematics | Harvard University 2002
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
  • The 2016 Social Choice and Welfare Prize
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
  • John Bates Clark Medal
Work History
  • MIT, Professor of Economics
  • NBER Working Group on Market Design, Founding co-director
  • MIT's School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative (SEII), Founder
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