Parag A. Pathak is the Class of 1922 Professor of Economics at MIT, founding co-director of the NBER Working Group on Market Design, and founder of MIT's Blueprint Labs (formerly the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative), a research laboratory based in the MIT Economics department which uses tools from market design and research design to produce rigorous evidence that can help decision-makers design and implement social policy.
He began his work on market design and education while a PhD student working with Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Alvin Roth, and Tayfun Sönmez in a collaboration that eventually led Boston Public School’s to adopt a new mechanism for student placement, citing the desire to level the playing field for the city’s families. He has also contributed to the design of school choice systems in several other American cities including New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC.
His work on market design and education was recognized with several awards including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the 2016 Social Choice and Welfare (with Fuhito Kojima). In 2018, the American Economic Association awarded him the John Bates Clark Medal as the best American economist under age 40.
Recently, together with Tayfun Sönmez, M. Utku Ünver, and M. Bumin Yenmez, Pathak has been working on a research program applying ideas from market design to the rationing of vital medical resources, such as ICU beds, ventilators, anti-viral drugs, convalescent plasma, and vaccines. This work has introduced the concept of a reserve or categorized priority system for the allocation of vital medical resources, a concept that is now part of several allocation frameworks in the field.
Aside from market design, Pathak has authored leading studies on charter schools, high school reform, exam schools, vouchers, affirmative action, and school choice. Many of these studies are written with Josh Angrist. 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, the Institute for Education Sciences, the WT Grant Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Boston Foundation, and the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy. He has served as an Associate Editor at the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and Econometrica.
Pathak was on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice from 2007-2019. He is a co-Founder of Avela Education. He has also consulted for the law firms of Quinn Emmanuel and Stein Lubin.