MIT Professor Parag Pathak wins John Bates Clark Medal

Parag Pathak Photo courtesy of the MIT Department of Economics
Parag Pathak
Photo courtesy of the MIT Department of Economics

The prestigious award, granted by the American Economic Association (AEA)

Nepalese American Parag Pathak, professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), won John Bates Clark Medal, which is conferred to American economists who have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.

According to the official release of MIT,  Pathak, a market-design expert has extensively studied education while developing new policy mechanisms used across the US.

The prestigious award, granted by the American Economic Association (AEA), was announced on Friday afternoon.

While announcing this year’s award, AEA said that Pathak’s work has led to “significant improvement in the assignment of students to public schools,” while he has also conducted “convincing analyses of different policies designed to improve secondary education. Using innovative and sophisticated empirical and theoretical techniques, he has provided policy advice that has already positively influenced the lives of over 1 million public school students.”

After being intimated about the award, Pathak told MIT News that he was honored to have joined a host of amazing scholars including Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman, and also said the award is a testimony for the rise of marketing-design research.

“This is an award on behalf of the whole subject of market design,” said Pathak, who is the Jane Berkowitz Carlton and Dennis William Carlton Professor of Microeconomics in the MIT Department of Economics. “There are many people who are doing great work in this field,” he noted.

His studies in Boston provided partial evidence that charter schools boosted educational attainment and have been central in the debate on expanding access to the schools, the AEA said.

“The studies also add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that urban charter schools have the potential to generate impressive achievement gains, especially for minority students living in high-poverty areas,” the association said.

Pathak also praised MIT, where he has spent his entire career as a professor.

“This is a phenomenal work environment,” said Pathak. He added that “The thing that stands out about MIT is its openness to new ideas and young people,” including graduate students who “help keep the department at the forefront” of the profession.

Past winners of the John Bates Clark award who were either MIT faculty or alumni include Lawrence Klein, Robert Solow, Franklin Fisher, Daniel McFadden, Joseph Stiglitz, Jerry Hausman, and Lawrence Summers.

(Updated on 22-04-2018: Parag Pathak is a Nepalese American and not an Indian American )

One Comment

  1. You may find it interesting if not amusing that Pathak comes from long lineage of royal priests in Nepal. His grandfathers and great grandfathers were big thinkers, scholars of Sanskrit, and strategists and advisors to multiple generation of Kings of Nepal. They were powerful enough to be assigned their own small battalion of soldiers called “Priest’s Battalion” (गुर्जुको पल्टन) which Pathak must’ve seen in his Nepal trips. You may know Nepal sits between two behemoths – India & China, and role of such royal scholars and strategists were vital for its survival and operation. So Pathak’s families still enjoy quite a stature back in Nepal even today, although no King rules Nepal anymore. That gene and that brain still clearly lives on!

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