Maxim P. '04, Columbia '08, MIT '12
I finished my Ph.D. in economics at MIT and will be heading to the research unit of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In my dissertation, I explored the ways in which governments affect economic outcomes both in developed and in developing countries. One of my papers argued that the state regulatory backlash against managed care insurers weakened their ability to contain health care costs. Another one used a satellite-collected nighttimes map of the lit areas of the world to find sharp changes in economic growth and development at national borders and to argue these changes can be traced to differences in countries' institutions. At my new position, I look forward to investigating further how governments may advance or hinder economic development.
Since graduating from Berkeley Carroll, I have learned many techniques, but the fundamental questions and approach to investigation are the ones I imbibed at Berkeley Carroll. The exhortation I remember best from my Upper School days -- and even Middle School days -- is to "question everything;" to ask about the hidden assumptions I make in so many of my judgments and to either dismiss them (thus changing my prior opinions) or rigorously defend them. Classes in calculus and statistics introduced me to mathematical tools of enormous power to structure the world; classes in history and the debate team made me realize what can be at stake when public policy is set and classes in economics helped me see how to use math to answer the questions. I have been drawing out and elaborating the implications of these lessons ever since.