Research in Economics
This past summer Jesús Moreno was a research assistant in economics under Professor Elise Brezis at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. His research focused on the homogeneity of elite identity. Jesús generated a dataset on a sample of the wealthy elite and their university education, using the list of the Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans.
Wealth and Social Mobility
The goal was to use education as a proxy for the degree of homogeneity of the wealthy elite. Jesus explains, “Identity can affect behavior and decision-making with a significant impact on the economy. For example, a very homogenous company may adapt poorly to a negative shock due to a lack of innovative ideas. Greater homogeneity may be self-reinforcing and exclusionary, reducing social mobility. The topics of social mobility, and by extension economic inequality, are very important in the American public consciousness after the economic crisis in 2008.”
The Israeli Workplace
To succeed in his internship, Jesús had to take some time to get used to the Israeli workplace culture quirks — a casual setting, lively and very talkative co-workers, and a different perception of timeliness — but Jesús, prepared by MISTI’s cultural training, integrated quickly into this new working environment. Comparing his MIT-Israel internship to past American internships, Jesús began to gain the perspective that “It seems that in the academic setting, the Israeli way may be best,” reflecting that he enjoyed swapping timeliness for excellent workplace morale.
Engineering to Economics
The experience served to define his future career path. Professor Brezis transcended her capacity as research supervisor and became a true mentor.
MY INTERNSHIP IN ISRAEL WAS A LIFE-CHANGING EVENT, AND I GREATLY APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THIS INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE.
Studying engineering, but working this past summer in economics, for the first time, Jesús realized that his heart truly lies with economics. He will be seeking a post in this field for post-graduation.