Robin Anderson


Robin Anderson graudated with a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of Washington. She now works as a statistician for the US Census Bureau, in the Poverty and Health Statistics Branch. Her PhD poverty research focused on the effects of Native American Gaming Casinos on poverty and income distribution within tribes.

WCPC Funded Project:

Indian Gaming: Impacts on Poverty and the Income Distribution.
Faculty Supervisor: Shelley Lundberg, Department of Economics.

American Indians living on reservation land are among the poorest minorities in the country. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was passed in 1988 and allows some tribes to open gaming operations. Popular press suggests that a few small tribes benefit most from gaming. However, previous research finds gaming has the largest employment effects for larger tribes and on rural reservations. They also find mixed evidence with respect to income effects. Additionally, previous research finds gaming benefits low wage workers most. Using 1990 and 2000 Census Data, I examined how gaming affects poverty and the income distribution for American Indians living on the reservation. With reservation level data, I tested whether gaming differentially impacts poverty and per capita income. Using the difference-in-difference method, I found that gaming increases per capita income the most for smaller tribes and decreases poverty rates only for larger tribes. This result is robust to fixed effects. I also examined whether gaming changes the income spread across reservations. Then, using PUMS household data, I examined gaming’s impact on poverty outcomes and impacts on different parts of the income distribution.

Current Employment

Statistician, US Census Bureau, Poverty and Health Statistics Branch