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Re: Advice on putting a program off, help needed
I'm sorry to hear that, that sounds like a really frustrating situation. Depending on your situation, it might be worth a shot to contact the departments to see if you could defer your enrollment for a year. I'm honestly sure under what circumstances they okay that, but I know it can happen.
I RA'd after undergrad for an extended period of time, and I feel like it was really valuable. You get to see the research environment, surrounded by really smart people interested in the same stuff you are, and you can build relationships with economists to get some variance in your letters of recommendation. I would definitely check out the NBER postings and any regional Fed banks, and it couldn't hurt to look for some consulting/industry jobs as a backup to that.
Even if neither of those work out, I wouldn't panic too much; there's a reason most applications give you a place to explain any longer gaps on your CV. As long as you have a good reason, it shouldn't really hurt your application, and if you can mention your previous offers from this round it might even nudge them in the right direction. Definitely hold on to all your app material from this time around, to save yourself a lot of trouble next time around! Good luck, hope you find something that you find satisfying!