PhD Student, Department of Economics
Kartik Vira became interested in economics during high school, when the financial crisis of 2008 illustrated to him just how much the discipline affects society.
“I think economics is an extremely powerful framework for understanding lots of different aspects of the way we organize society, whether that’s decisions on an individual level, political institutions, or businesses and markets,” he says. “I’m interested in behavioral economics in particular—introducing models with a more psychologically realistic approach to economics. I think that’s exciting because these models can help governments to design policies based on a better understanding of how we really make decisions.”
As Vira begins his doctoral studies, he is grateful that the Carl Shapiro Fellowship Fund brought him to MIT, where he has the chance to work with renowned faculty members such as Institute Professor and John Bates Clark medalist Daron Acemoğlu. “The faculty have really impactful research designed to improve outcomes for people around the world,” he says.
While starting at MIT during the pandemic was challenging, Vira says he found a welcoming community within the Department of Economics. “In my cohort, we have a really good sense of community and camaraderie,” he says. “I can see that MIT values that sense of community.”