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Matthew Pesner is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the department of economics at Vanderbilt University, with interests in the intersection of economic history, health economics, and public finance. As both a research assistant and teaching assistant, Matthew has amassed a lot of relevant experience throughout his academic career. He has experience with instruction in microeconomics, econometrics, health economics, and public finance.
Matthew's research revolves around understanding the development of the safety net in the United States over the 20th century, focusing on important changes to Social Security and Public Assistance programs in the 1950's and 1960's. In particular, he studies what effects these changes had on family structure dynamics, and how the state and federal governments interacted to finance these programs.
Matthew Pesner’s interest in economics began in high school. He was engaged in the National Fed Challenge, an academic competition designed to teach high schoolers a broad overview of the operations of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, focusing on basic Monetary Policy tools.
In undergrad at Colorado College, Matthew Pesner first seriously started considering a PhD in economics during his sophomore year. Matthew started working to get into programs, focusing on taking the expected courses in mathematics. In May of 2016, Matt earned his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Economics from the Department of Economics at Colorado College.
Matthew has always been interested broadly in the determinants and effects of poverty. In grad school, he has been able to figure out specific areas in which he can contribute, using modern advances in program evaluation and causal inference to analyze previous policies that were taken to address poverty via expansions in the welfare system in the mid-20th century, and what we can learn from these events to help improve policy today.
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