Robert Tanton has a PhD in Economics from the University of Canberra, and has been at NATSEM since June 2005.

Robert’s main interest is spatial disadvantage, and he is a recognised Australian and international expert on spatial disadvantage. The research conducted by his team covers areas such as spatial housing disadvantage, economic disadvantage (poverty), income inequality and wellbeing. His principal areas of research are spatial disadvantage and wellbeing; spatial statistics and small area estimation; and community wellbeing.

Robert also leads work using a spatial microsimulation technique to derive small area estimates of many indicators of disadvantage and wellbeing. So far, this technique has been used to derive small area estimates of poverty and housing stress; and is currently being used to develop small area estimates of subjective wellbeing and indigenous disadvantage. Robert’s team is one of only a few international teams involved in this world leading research, and he recently was part of a European Social Research Council grant to present the results of his work in the UK.

Robert has published extensively in the academic literature on spatial disadvantage and social exclusion, and has presented results of his work to a number of national and international conferences. He has also presented results from his research on spatial housing stress to the Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability. He has been a Chief Investigator on a number of Australian Research Council grants, and has conducted commissioned work for a number of agencies including the Tasmanian Social Inclusion Unit; the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; the AMP; Commonwealth Bank; and Veda.

Prior to joining NATSEM, Robert worked in the Australian Public Service, with five years at the Department of Finance, researching and modelling staffing statistics; five years at the Commonwealth Grants Commission modelling police expenditure; and six years at the Australian Bureau of Statistics modelling small area crime rates and leading the team calculating the ABS 2001 Socio-Economic Index For Areas (SEIFA).

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