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Indiana University

Edward David Vargas


Public Affairs

Exam and Minor Fields:

Major: Policy Analysis and Public Finance
Minor: Sociology (Social Science Quantitative Research Methodology)

Special Skills and/or Knowledge Base:

I am candidate committed to research, teaching, public service, and a research agenda focused on critical issues related to social disparities. I have a firm grounding in applied interdisciplinary research and strong quantitative skills. While at SPEA at Indiana University, I have designed and taught a variety of undergraduate classes, I have mentored undergraduate and entering graduate students, and I look forward to helping students apply coursework to real world situations.

In addition to the teaching experience at SPEA, I have also been a teaching assistant at the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. The courses I have taught in SPEA include Management Science, Cost Benefit Analysis, and Urban Problems and Solutions. At the ICPSR, I have been a teaching assistant in an Introductory Data Analysis course (Data Analysis I & II) and as well two summers in an innovative course in the Methodological Issues in the Quantitative Study of Race and Ethnicity. I am also able to teach courses in Public Finance, Social Policy, and Research Methodology.

Lastly, on top of my research, teaching, coursework, and mentoring, I have been actively involved in service related to my dissertation topic. My research is guided by over ten years of community based research. I value this service and plan to integrate this work with external grants in my next position.

Dissertation Title:


Dissertation Committee:

  • Maureen Pirog, Ph.D. (Chair)
  • David Reingold, Ph.D.
  • Sergio Fernandez, Ph.D.
  • Phillip Bowman, Ph.D.

Current Dissertation Progress and Expected Defense Date:

Expected Defense Date: Summer 2010

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is an investigation of how fear and/or risk of deportation impacts mixed-status Mexican-American familys’ participation in public assistance programs. By mixed-status, I am describing a situation when one or more family members are U.S. citizens and other members of the family nuclei are living in the U.S. without legal authorization. The first two chapters focus on mixed-status families in which at least one child is a U.S. citizen and at least one parent is unauthorized. The first empirical chapter of this dissertation focuses specifically on state variation in take-up rates for the Women Infants and Child (WIC) food nutrition program while the second focuses on state variation in take-up rates for Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIPS). Next I explore in-state college tuition polices for all unauthorized youth in a policy innovation/diffusion framework.

This dissertation draws on data from the U.S. Census, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, Fragile Families Child Well-Being Study, and data from State legislators. A series of logistical regressions are estimated to test ‘fear and/or risk of deportation’ on the take-up of WIC and Medicaid/SCHIPS programs in mixed-status families. An event history analysis is used to examine the social, political, and economic factors that influence state decisions regarding in-state tuition policies for unauthorized youth. The implication and significance of this work has tremendous impacts for policy makers, service providers and researchers interested in reducing child poverty in complex family structures. Furthermore, this research advances the program evaluation literature by taking into consideration the effects that fear and/or risk of deportation have on program take-up.