My work in economics has spanned from education to market design to development to healthcare, not to mention my passing interests in a half-dozen other fields. Hopefully I can narrow it down over the next few years.

research

Evaluating Strategic Play: Manipulations with Symmetric Information in the Boston Mechanism
Undergraduate Thesis advised by Parag Pathak. 2021.
I work a lot with ESP and their programs, and for my thesis, I’m analyzing the mechanism ESP uses to assign students to classes, a variant of the Boston system extended to many-to-many matching. My initial proposal considered a lot of topics, like “better” mechanisms and the welfare gains/losses due to strategic play. While I’d love to delve into those topics, time constraints led me to focus in on whether a student with symmetric information (in the spirit of Roth + Rothblum (1999)) can benefit by misreporting their strategies. Writing a thesis was fully optional for me, but I decided to do it because of my interest in market design and to see how I enjoyed a larger research project. In the end, my feelings about finishing a thesis played a non-zero role in my choice to enroll in grad school (versus working in industry).
A Rising Tide for All or Wave for One?: The Effect of Charter School Competition on District Achievement
Written for 14.33. Selected MIT Undergraduate Journal of Economics, Vol. XX. 2021.
This paper was my first independent research project, and uses variation in the effectiveness of state laws to identify the impact that charters have on overall student performance. I don’t think that this paper was fantastic, but I do think that it was a very worthwhile exercise to help me understand a bit more what the process of research is actually like.
J-PAL Southeast Asia: TransJakarta Bus Optimization
Work with Ben Olken, Gabriel Kreindler, Rema Hanna, and Arya Gaduh.
This project exposed me development and big data, areas of economics I hadn’t explored before. It largely focused on analyzing data from TransJakarta’s public bus system, using it to look at the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures, and also helping the system optimize the allocation of buses to routes. Working with Dr. Olken and Dr. Kreindler helped solidify some of my thoughts about graduate school in economics and what I’d like to study.
The Surprising Hybrid Pedigree of Measures of Diversity and Economic Concentration
Adajar, P., Berndt, E., and Conti, R. NBER Working Paper Series 26512. 2019.
I worked with Dr. Berndt and Dr. Conti for two years to write this paper about measuring concentration in markets and applying these measures to the pharmaceutical industry. This project was my introduction to economics research at MIT, and helped set me on my path to grad school.
Values: How do they Contribute to Economic Success?
Pingle, M. and Adajar, P. Journal of Organizational Psychology, Vol. 18(1). 2018.
While in high school, I worked with Dr. Pingle on a variety of research projects. This was my first experience doing “real” economics (though mostly doing a lit review), and helped introduce me to economics as a potential career choice.

work

Bridgewater Associates
Investment Engineer Intern, Summer 2020
Bridgewater is a company known for its culture of “radical transparency.” Interning at Bridgewater gave me a chance to grow a lot as a person as I learn how to better respond to feedback. Regarding the work itself, I think I learned a lot from my first experiences in the financial world about being in industry and building systems for understanding the economy; you can read more of my thoughts on this blog post.
NERA
Anti-trust Intern, Winter 2020
I’d worked a lot in anti-trust because of my research about concentration measures, but NERA was a chance for me to do anti-trust in a much more applied manner with more focus on quantitative methods. NERA showed me what economics “industry” feels like: faster-paced, more emphasis on office communication, and the impetus to have deliverables. Perhaps the most interesting thing I figured out at NERA was how some employees who initially planned to return to graduate school were slowly being convinced otherwise. Talking to these people helped me realize that I wanted the opposite — to return to graduate school, perhaps sooner rather than later.
Government Accountability Office
Student Intern — Applied Research and Methods, Summer 2019
I worked at GAO as part of the MIT-DC Internship Program. This internship and program helped expose me to the world of policy, and helped me decide to get a minor in the field. During the internship, I got to talk with many PhDs working in public policy about their experiences and why they (mostly) ended up leaving academia, which has helped me in understanding my own career goals.

education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD in Economics, 2021–
As a second-year, I’m still mostly in the take-many-classes and have-vague-ideas-for-research phase of graduate school. While the amount and interesting-ness of my work ebbs and flows, I do think that I’m enjoying it so far c:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SB in Mathematical Economics, 2017–2021
MIT was a wonderful place to do my undergrad, filled with people who were all excited about something. Three reflections:
  1. At MIT, you learn, sometimes in unexpected ways. But you will learn lots in classes, you will learn how to manage stress, you will learn how to learn.
  2. I spent a lot of time in structured non-academic pursuits: deliberate time around others, ESP, science bowl, and much more. I did this because I realized how necessary it is for me to have non-academic things filling my life; I am not a person that can just do work forever.
  3. One of the most difficult parts of MIT is that it sometimes feels bad to do things just for your own sake. Not in the sense that MIT is competitive (it is not), but when you are surrounded by so many smart and high-achieving people who have done amazing things, it can feel like you need to be “productive” all the time. I am still learning how to let go of this feeling.SP
Davidson Academy of Nevada
HS Diploma in Mathematical Economics, 2013–2017
I was very lucky to go to Davidson. While I’m still piecing my thoughts on the idea of gifted education together, I will always be grateful to have had access to so many resources at DA (classes, teachers, activities…) and how the friends I had made me a person.