Nathaniel Hickok

Nathaniel Hickok is a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at MIT. His research lies at the intersection of industrial organization and environmental economics, with a particular focus on how government intervention can help correct market imperfections. He is currently studying how lax regulations have incentivized over-investment in groundwater irrigation for water-intensive crops, leading to rapid aquifer depletion. The irreversible nature of many of these investments, such as drilling wells, creates a “lock-in” effect that can make it difficult for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. By analyzing the extent of this over-investment, Nathaniel aims to inform the design of future water management policies that balance economic viability with aquifer health. In addition to his work on water use, Nathaniel also has work studying transportation markets. One project investigates methods for subsidizing electric vehicle adoption. Another project shows how road pricing can be combined with public transit subsidies to significantly reduce traffic congestion and environmental impacts.

Nathaniel’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the MIT Society of Energy Fellows. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University.