Thomas Vartanian received his BA in economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his MS and PhD in economics from the University of Notre Dame. He has worked for the federal government in the Health Care Financing Administration (now The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) in the Department of Health and Human Services. His current research examines the relationship between neighborhood characteristics, food outlets, food stamp receipt, and health weight. He uses longitudinal data to examine the outcomes, with sibling and other fixed effect models. His findings indicate that childhood time spent on food stamps increases time with healthy weight as an adult relative to those who with low incomes (and presumably food stamp eligible) but who do not receive food stamps as a child. He has also examined how growing up in poor neighborhoods affect adult health, government cash assistance, length of stay below the poverty level, and economic levels after leaving welfare. He has also examined the long term consequences of receiving welfare at an early age, how childhood neighborhood/area inequality affects income as an adult, and the long-term consequences of poverty during middle age on elderly income. Other recent work includes examining how parents who take parental leave fare in health, wage, and other outcomes. His work has appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, Demography, Social Service Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Housing Studies, the Sociological Quarterly, Focus, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, and the Journal of Socio-Economics. He has been cited/quoted on CNN, Forbes, Salon, and the Chicago Tribune. He has received grants from Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, the Joint Poverty Center at the University of Chicago/Northwestern University, the RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies at Purdue University, the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. He teaches data analysis and Perspectives on Inequality and Poverty in the U.S. all at the MSS and Ph.D. levels, and Economic Inequality and Government Policy Choices at the undergraduate level.
Research and Scholarly Interests: Neighborhoods, Food Stamp/SNAP, welfare and employment; poverty among the elderly, children and single mothers; parental leave policies.
Substantive Specialization: Neighborhood studies, urban economics, economics of welfare, and statistics.