AEDE PhD student, Khyati Malik, has been awarded the Oskar Morgenstern fellowship for the academic year 2022-23 by the Mercatus Center at the George Mason University. This fellowship is a year-long competitive program awarded to graduate students from diverse fields like Economics, Sociology and Political Science with backgrounds in quantitative approaches and methods. One of the purposes of this fellowship is to familiarize the fellows with various mathematical methodologies employed by social scientists to delve into the important themes and issues associated with the Austrian, Virginia and Bloomington schools of political economy.
Khyati has a reasonable familiarity with these school of thoughts through her readings of the works of Carl Menger, James Buchanan, Elinor Ostrom, Friedrich Hayek, and others. The ideas of public choice analysis proposed in the Virginia school of thought resonate in her research works wherein she has focused on developing a theory for optimizing public good provisions by the government decision makers. Similarly, the ideas of marginalism in price theory conceptualized in the Austrian school helped her in theorizing how price function of public goods and amenities may be determined. Her thoughts have been heavily influenced by the intellectual discourse undertaken in Dr. Elena Irwin’s research group meetings and Dr. Sathya Gopalakrishnan’s Applied Welfare Economics class. Furthermore, Khyati believes that Dr. Yongyang Cai’s Advanced Computational Methods class has helped her assimilate the quantitative techniques essential for exploring the key questions associated with these schools of thought.
According to Khyati “Economics can be counted in the realm of what Weaver (Weaver 1948) called the problem of organized complexity: a problem that involves dealing simultaneously with a sizable number of factors interrelated by an organic whole. Economic problems are influenced by numerous social, economic, political, technological, and natural factors. Many of these factors are not quantifiable and hence their role is not fully understood. With the help of this fellowship, I intend to discover and implement new ideas towards understanding this organized complexity better.” She believes that this fellowship offers an inimitable opportunity to understand the thoughts and arguments that underpin the contemporary ideas in Economics. Furthermore, Khyati is immensely excited by the prospect of exchanging rich and diverse ideas with the professors and peers from all over the world engaged in a variety of disciplines. She says, “experience has taught me that when I am able to interpret an idea from the points of view of disciplines other than economics, both my understanding of concepts and the quality of my work are richer as my ability to think critically improves.”