Tim Bartik

Timothy J. Bartik

Nonresident Senior Fellow – Brookings Metro

Tim 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. 

Bartik’s 1991 book, Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?, is widely cited as an important and influential review that examines both the evidence on how local policies affect economic development, and on how local economic development affects resident well-being.  

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. 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 has recently extensively written on place-based policies to help distressed local labor markets and neighborhoods, by creating jobs or helping improve resident access to jobs. He co-directs the Upjohn Institute’s research initiative on place-based policies.  


Bartik received both his doctorate and his master’s in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1982. He earned a bachelor’s 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. 

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