Timothy J. Bartik

Senior Economist

Bartik’s research focuses on how broad-based prosperity can be advanced through better local labor market policies. This includes both policies affecting labor demand, such as state and local economic development policies, and policies affecting labor supply, such as place-based scholarships.

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Bartik’s 1991 book, Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?, is widely cited as an important and influential review of the evidence on how local policies affect economic development. Bartik is co-editor of Economic Development Quarterly, the only journal focused on local economic development in the United States.

Bartik’s recent work on economic development includes research developing a database on economic development incentive programs around the U.S. He has also developed a simulation model of incentives’ benefits and costs for local residents’ incomes, and how these benefits and costs vary with incentive design, local economic conditions, and how incentives’ budget costs are paid for.

Bartik’s research has also examined policies to promote local skills, and how these affect local prosperity. His 2011 book, Investing in Kids, examined how early childhood programs could promote local economic development. According to Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman, “Tim Bartik has written a thoughtful book on the value of a local approach to financing and creating early interventions to foster child development.” Bartik has also done extensive research with his Institute colleagues on the effects of the Kalamazoo Promise, a pioneering place-based scholarship program intended to improve the local economy.

Bartik received both his PhD and his MS in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1982. He earned a BA from Yale University in political philosophy in 1975. Prior to joining the Upjohn Institute in 1989, he was an assistant professor of economics at Vanderbilt University.

Bartik’s other recent research includes:

Helping Manufacturing-Intensive Communities: What Works? Policy Futures Report, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 9, 2018

Pre-K in the Public Schools: Evidence from within U.S. States. Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 18-285, April 2018 (with Brad Hershbein).

Degrees of Poverty: The Relationship between Family Income Background and the Returns to Education. Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 18-284, March 2018. (with Brad Hershbein)

“The Merits of Universal Scholarships: Benefit-Cost Evidence from the Kalamazoo Promise." Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 7(3) (2016): 400-433. (with Brad Hershbein and Marta Lachowska)

"How Effects of Local Labor Demand Shocks Vary with the Initial Local Unemployment Rate.” Growth and Change 46(4) (2015): 329–337.  doi: 10.1111/grow.12101.

Expertise & Selected Publications

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            Contact: Justin Carinci