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Matthew Pesner

The Outdoors

About Matthew Pesner

Alongside his academic work as a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the department of Economics at Vanderbilt University, Matthew Pesner enjoys spending time outdoors, relaxing in nature, and traveling to explore new sights and places.

When Matthew Pesner moved to Colorado to attend college, he was exposed to the local culture and pastimes. In Colorado, it seems as though everybody does everything outdoors. Here, while pursuing his degree in mathematical economics, Matthew Pesner began to stretch his adventurous side. Together with his friends, he went on a lot of road trips and hikes, some short and others longer. They would travel to other states in the Midwest for a day trip to explore, visiting Utah and Idaho on their many excursions. They even drove to Mexico once for fun. It was during these trips that Matthew had his first real taste of camping and experienced the calming and regenerative aspects of nature. A traveler who’s always preferred exploring cities, Matthew found how enjoyable it can be to simply spend some time outdoors in the fresh air.

As someone who’s had a chance to explore internationally (visiting Spain, Israel, England, Paris, and Scotland), as well as in his own backyard, Matthew Pesner never understood the pull that Americans feel towards traveling exclusively in Europe. Tourists want to travel across the ocean to see these beautiful, historic sights that are lauded as being picturesque without ever realizing that there is a similar wonder, majesty, and beauty right here in our backyards in America. From the wildlife to the plains to the impressive mountain ranges, the beauty you can find across the United States holds no less majesty than that found elsewhere in the world.

In his academic career, Matthew Pesner is a fifth-year Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Economics, having previously earned his Master of Arts from the same University. Prior to attending Vanderbilt University, Matthew studied at Colorado College, where he earned his B.A. in Mathematical Economics.

A curious mind, Matthew likes economics because of its data-driven nature. He’s an analytical person who’s always found himself to be more compelled by fact than opinion. In his Ph.D. studies, Matthew has conducted research into the development of the safety net in the United States over the 20th century, focusing on significant changes to Social Security and Public Assistance programs in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In particular, Matthew is interested in the effects these changes had on family structure dynamics, as well as how the state and federal governments interacted to finance these programs.

Matthew has always been interested broadly in the determinants and effects of poverty. As a graduate student, Matthew has discovered areas in which he can contribute, using modern advances in program evaluation and causal inference to analyze previous expansions to Social Insurance programs over the mid-20th century, and what we can learn from these events to help improve policy today. 

Learn more about Matthew Pesner and how he spends his time in the great outdoors on his blog page!