Avela Founder Joshua Angrist Wins Nobel Prize

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today at the National Academy of Sciences, Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter presented the Nobel Prize medal to Avela Co-Founder Dr. Joshua D. Angrist, a winner of the 2021 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Angrist shares the award with co-author Guido Imbens of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and with one of his PhD advisors, David Card of the University of California at Berkeley.

The Nobel Committee cited Angrist’s research on natural experiments that have "substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit to society." Angrist has looked into casual questions in labor economics, such as the effect of serving in the military on lifetime earnings, and in education, such as the effects of charter school attendance.

Angrist is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Avela, an education software company that helps schools, districts, and nonprofits manage admission and enrollment decisions. Angrist founded Avela with his MIT colleague, Dr. Parag Pathak, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Greg Bybee.

"I love working with Avela clients," Angrist shared. "We’ve already launched the best school finder and student enrollment platform to help students, teachers, and schools find their best matches. It’s gratifying to see our research have a real-world impact."

Angrist is also the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT, where he is a Co-Director of the MIT Blueprint Labs (formerly the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative). There, he leads research on student assignment algorithms and value added measures in education.

Over the last two decades, Angrist and Pathak have partnered with school districts around the country, including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Denver, to analyze enrollment data and design matching mechanisms to better assign students to schools. Through this work, they identified a market gap in available tools to help run the matching algorithms and were inspired to found Avela.

Avela recently launched Avela Match, a matchmaking platform used to assign people to opportunities, such as students into schools, volunteers to projects, or military officers to branches. Avela Match implements many of the assignment algorithms designed by Angrist and Pathak, but makes them easy to use with a drag-and-drop interface.

"Avela has been able to accelerate adoption of research-based best practices that our lab studies," Angrist said. "We’re helping to close the gap between academia and industry by providing software tools directly to practitioners that implement the latest research."

Angrist is also fond of teaching students. He has received several teaching awards, including the Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellowship and both the MIT Economics Department Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Awards. He created an online ecosystem for anyone in the world to learn econometrics, including a free course, Mastering Econometrics, at MRU.org.

He also co-authored two renowned econometrics textbooks with Jörn-Steffen Pischke, Mastering ‘Metrics and Mostly Harmless Econometrics, the latter which earned the Second Fama Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Doctoral Education.

On Wednesday, Angrist will deliver a public lecture on "Empirical Strategies in Economics: Illuminating the Path from Cause to Effect." The lecture can be watched on nobelprize.org on December 8 at 7:00 AM ET.

About Avela
Avela gives enrollment, admission, and award officers the tools to make equitable decisions and empower families. Avela’s enrollment suite supports each stage of the admission journey with a focus on equity, accessibility, and ease of use. Avela is proud to work with leading education nonprofits, school districts, and universities to promote equity in access to education. Learn more at https://avela.org.

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SOURCE Avela, Inc.