What do you do at J-PAL? I am a research assistant for MIT Professor Amy Finkelstein. I am Amy’s lead RA working on the randomized evaluation of a program designed to encourage enrollment of low-income, elderly individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as ‘food-stamps.’ I conduct real-time data processing to monitor the implementation of the intervention, and code the statistical analyses that will eventually appear in a journal article with the results of the study.
What drew you to want to work at J-PAL? I took Edward Miguel’s course during my senior year in undergrad and worked with him as a research assistant, having a first-hand experience with RCTs and other applied metrics methods, I realized I wanted to become an academic economist. After going through a very theory-heavy masters I felt I needed some more applied research exposure, so I came to Cambridge to work with Amy, who is the co-scientific director of J-PAL North America, and thus, I am here.
What is your favorite place in the world that you have been? I actually really like it here. Cambridge, MA is an awesome place to live. It has super engaging academic community, and it’s really close to Boston, which is a great city!
If you had a million dollars to donate, what would you give it to? I think adoption of digital technologies and Internet in developing areas could be a major game changer to lift communities out of poverty (if implemented well!). I’d find an NGO working on expanding digital access and I would partner with them, and run an RCT on their intervention, looking for the most cost-effective mechanisms to close ‘digital divides.’